Hardly a day seems to go by without easyJet founder and majority shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou getting something going. Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, Sir Stelios has been calling for the cancellation of easyJet’s Airbus order louder and louder and is even threatening the dismissal of non-executive directors. Today he seems to be going all the way up and demanding the removal of Johan Lundgren, the airline’s CEO, from his post.
Removal of the “villains”
It’s the newest installment in the long-running soap opera that easyJet is these days. Have demanded the cancellation of his Airbus order, Founder and main shareholder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, was not long. First Sir Stelios demanded the dismissal of Andreas Bierwirth, then he switched to Andrew Findlay, the company’s chief financial officer.
Now it seems like the angry Greek-Cypriot directors are no longer enough, as he is now hungry for the blood of the airline’s chief executive, Johan Lundgren. He is also trying to overthrow Chairman John Barton on allegations that he failed to properly investigate easyJet’s deal with Airbus.
As reported by This is money Today the tycoon accused the company of acting like “villains” when it came to Airbus’ £ 1.5 billion (US $ 1.9 billion) contract for 24 new aircraft. He told the point of sale
“I previously referred to the people in charge at easyJet as villains. This remains my opinion. “
He further accuses Lundgren of operating an “aircraft parking lot” and alludes again to the outcome of the Airbus bribery case and its relevance for easyJet. He went on
“What the villains are not telling us at all is how much money the company will burn each week after it resumes operations, which will be well over the £ 40 million per week they say they burn while the fleet is on Floor lies. “
Half-empty planes fly
easyJet received a £ 600 million ($ 740 million) loan from the UK government earlier this month. With his entire fleet grounded until at least June, the airline is said to be burning £ 40 million (about $ 50 million) in cash every week. Without income, this would be a path to ruin, but the government’s bailout has at least temporarily secured their future.
But Stelios doesn’t see the positive side. What seems to have sparked the issue today is the announcement that the airline will do so block out the middle seatto ensure social distancing when service resumes. It’s a plan based around building trust with customers and creating a safe environment. However, the founder is not happy about the empty spaces.
“Flying half-empty planes will be very loss-making. That £ 40million a week in cash is being burned before making payments to Airbus … UK taxpayers should really worry now that they won’t see any of their money back in March 2021. ” he said.
Although easyJet agreed postpone the Airbus orders, in view of the current situation, a complete cancellation is ruled out for the time being. This sparked Sir Stelios even more, with the problem of social distancing proving to be the icing on the cake. He went on
“Any attempt to operate a fleet of more than 250 aircraft (up from 337 now) is sure to burn a lot of money in 2021. I hope the remaining villains will follow this fleet plan and cancel the order for new useless Airbus aircraft. “That will lose a lot of money.”
Stelios has other reasons to be angry; the value of its shares is down £ 1.2 billion ($ 1.5 billion) in just one month. Prior to the full extent of the coronavirus crisis, easyJet stock was worth 1,508 pence. Today they are only worth 616 pence. Everyone would be a bit ticked off.
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