easyJet has delayed the delivery of 24 Airbus jets as it looks to stave off pressure from its major shareholder and former founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Haji-Ioannou is pushing hard for the cancelation of the order for the 24 jets and is looking to have two directors of Europe’s second-largest low-cost carrier, chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, and non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth, removed from the positions if this does not happen. He has called for a shareholder meeting on May 7, which easyJet has confirmed will take place, having also confirmed that the carrier will defer the delivery of ten planes this year, 12 next year, and two in 2022.
Additionally, easyJet is in a position to defer payment on five additional jets and also delay or cancel leases on a further 24 operating leases which are up for renewal within the next 16 months. Haji-Ioannou is keen to see easyJet reduce its financial commitments, especially in light of the current COVID-19 crisis and the grounding of the carrier’s entire fleet, despite having already received £600 million (US$750 million) in government aid.
In response to easyJet agreeing a delay on plane deliveries, Haji-Ioannou said: “A deferral is the same as kicking the can down the road. In addition, they are not telling the investors how many Airbus aircraft will easyJet go ahead and pay Airbus for and how much per aircraft during the next six months using U.K. taxpayers’ money.” He said he would write to regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority to try to force easyJet to disclose the details of what it had agreed with Airbus.Email Post to a Friend