Kasmira Jefford
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Stelios reignites row with easyJet over new aircraft

SIR Stelios Haji-Iaonnou has refuelled his ongoing row with the board of easyjet, this time urging the company to cut the size of its fleet and reverse its latest order for 35 airbus planes announced in January.

In a letter addressed to easyJet’s chairman Sir Michael Rake, Sir Stelios said the company had changed its aircraft order, which he alleges is now twice the price shareholders had originally agreed to.

Sir Stelios, who holds a 26 per cent stake, said the airline had breached UK Listing Authority rules arguing that shareholders should be allowed to vote on a purchase which is worth more than 25 per cent of the market value of the company.

“EasyJet is a strong business. What it cannot afford to do is squander another £2bn in aircraft”, Sir Stelios told City A.M. “By stopping the order now, the airline has a better chance of producing higher profits.”

The 11-page letter sent to the board on Monday goes on to accuse easyJet of deliberately understating the cost of £73m aircraft, saying that today’s price for an A320 plane is £85m.

EasyJet has denied the claim that it broke UKLA regulations, however in a second response Sir Stelios rejected this saying “that the rules have been breached and basic shareholder rights have been violated.”

The allegations from its biggest shareholder will come as a further blow for chief executive Carolyn McCall, adding to the airline’s challenges as it tackles rising oil prices and fragile consumer confidence.