Easyjet’s founder and largest shareholder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has warned that unless a £4.5 billion order for new Airbus planes is scrapped, the carrier will run out of money by August.
The Greek businessman is also seeking the removal of Easyjet chief financial officer Andrew Findlay. According to Haji-Ioannou, sacking Findlay “is the only way of preventing him writing billion pound cheques to Airbus every year.”
Haji-Ioannou said the 107 planes on order are “useless,” since the coronavirus pandemic has brought air travel to a standstill and the huge bill for the planes puts EasyJet’s survival at stake. The airline has also grounded its entire fleet.
He has vowed not to put any more cash into the business unless the board agrees to his demands.
“If Easyjet terminates the Airbus contract, then it does not need loans from the UK taxpayer and it has the best chance to survive and thrive in the future with some injection of additional equity provided for by the markets,” Haji-Ioannou said.
An Easyjet spokesperson said: “The board is managing the unprecedented challenges facing the airline and the aviation sector as a whole. We remain absolutely focused on short term liquidity, removing expenditure from the business alongside safeguarding jobs and ensuring the long-term future of the airline. We believe that holding a general meeting would be an unhelpful distraction from tackling the many immediate issues our business faces.”