EasyJet owner Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou threatens Fastjet with legal action over licence breaches

Caitlin Morrison
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The British entrepreneur wants a reply from Fastjet by the end of March (Source: Getty)

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, owner of the Easy group of brands - which includes Easyjet, has contacted the board of African budget airline Fastjet over a number of licence breaches. EasyGroup is the brand owner and licensor of Fastjet.

In a letter to Fastjet chair Colin Child, Haji-Ioannou outlined a number of concerns, including the fact that since the company announced that chief exec Ed Winter would step down, it has failed to notify its parent company of who will be the new "accountable manager".

He also accused the board of "muddying the waters" with details of local nominees to local countries "which might be useful for us to know but clearly fails to address the need to comply with UK Civil Aviation Authorities standards".

In addition, Haji-Ioannou cited a recent mystery shopping trip to the Fastjet ticket offices in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, where it discovered the firm is not applying yield management, breaching the agreement between the companies.

Moreover, the travel tycoon added, mystery shoppers found that Fastjet was not accepting credit cards at ticket offices in Dar es Salaam, which "falls below the standard expected". "This also reduces revenue," added Haji-Ioannou.

"During the same visit to Dar es Salaam and in conversation with local managers we discovered there is a convoluted web of local and off shore companies all using the “FastJet” brand, under authority from the company," he continued. "We give you notice that we urgently need copies of all the sub-licences between the Licensee (Fastjet PLC) and all the other entities. If such sub-licences do not exist you need to explain why."

Haji-Ioannou said EasyGroup demands answers to its queries by noon on 31 March and said if Fastjet does not meet this deadline, the brand licence will be terminated, meaning the African company will have to cease carrying out business under the Fastjet name.

If Fastjet fails to comply with this, he said, EasyGroup will go to the High Court seeking an injunction and damages from the airline.

Fastjet declined to comment.

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