Investors back EasyJet’s plane deal with Airbus

Marion Dakers

ref="">EASYJET shareholders yesterday backed the budget airline’s plan to buy at least 135 Airbus planes, brushing off a protest vote led by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

The FTSE 100 firm said in June that the plane order offered “unique” value for money, but refused to tell investors how much Airbus had knocked off the £7.6bn list price of the aircraft.

Sir Stelios, who left the board in 2010 but remains the firm’s biggest shareholder, earlier this month likened the deal to “eating in a restaurant where the menu has no prices”.

More than 57 per cent of the investors who voted at yesterday’s meeting supported the firm’s decision.

Almost 43 per cent of those who voted refused to back the deal, on a turnout of 85 per cent. Sir Stelios’s family controls 37 per cent of EasyJet shares.

EasyJet will now take delivery of 100 Airbus A320neos and 35 A320ceos over the next nine years. The carrier said the new planes will replace ageing aircraft with more fuel efficient models, as well as allowing further expansion of EasyJet’s route network.

Two thirds of the new planes will be used to replace its ageing 156-seat A319s, the bulk of its fleet, the airline said.

“The vote in favour of our new fleet arrangements will allow EasyJet to continue its successful strategy of modest, profitable growth and sustainable returns for our shareholders,” said new chairman John Barton after the vote.