Easyjet founder threatens to sack board members

posted on 30th March 2020 by Eddie Saunders

easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has threatened to sack one of the budget carrier’s board members every seven weeks claiming, “the airline’s future is at risk unless it cancels a £4.5bn aircraft order”.

In a letter sent on Sunday by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to John Barton, Haji-Ioannou said that the order for 107 new planes from Airbus was “the main risk to the survival” of Easyjet.

Last week easyJet announced it would ground its entire fleet for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus, warning there could be “no certainty” as to when the firm would recommence flights.

Sir Stelios said the Airbus order had saddled easyJet with an existential threat at a time when the world’s aviation industry had effectively been grounded by the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added that the “liability of paying Airbus £4.5bn dwarfs today’s easyJet market capitalisation of £2.4bn”, and added the carrier should “declare force majeure” to get out of payment obligations. If not, Sir Stelios plans to call an extraordinary general meeting every seven weeks to remove non-executive directors for “dereliction of duty”.

The letter stated the easyjet chairman John Barton has until Wednesday to reply to.