Today Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou published the following open letter (Stelios voting intentions at EZJ EGM – July 11). The case he makes is, by all appearances, rational.
As a response to this letter, we sent over some questions for Sir Stelios. He declined to answer these questions directly, but a spokesman did provide the following answers.
- Sir Stelios has been consistent in opposing fleet growth at easyJet. Can you please explain why growth for the airline is not in shareholders’ interests?
Stelios’ view is that at 211 aircraft, the fleet is already a tad on the big side. In the winter months there is a certain amount of idle capacity which costs money. Therefore going out and buying new aircraft makes no sense. Replacement is also unnecessary with a fleet average age of 4 1/2 years. If the new airplanes are for new routes, the number of profitable new routes is pretty much zero. The routes easyJet does not serve are inherently unprofitable or are well served by other airlines. There is no margin to be earned there.
- What is Sir Stelios’ vision for easyJet in five years’ time?
For easyJet to not look unlike to the easyJet of today. Ideally a bit smaller. But making lots of money because capacity is being well managed.
- Would Sir Stelios regard the intra-EU market as saturated for LCCs?
His view is that market is saturated.
- Sir Stelios showed a preference for Airbus when he ran the airline. Has he changed views on Airbus products?
Stelios bought Airbus thirteen years ago because it was the best deal on the table. If Boeing had offered the best deal he would have taken that. He is indifferent as to the suppliers. He hates them both equally. He regards them as a duopoly and the result of which is that airlines have a relatively limited choice. He probably hates Airbus that little bit more at the moment because of the secrecy clause.