EASYJET founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou will come face to face with the budget airline today in front of a High Court judge over an ongoing branding dispute.
Haji-Ioannou, who is expected to give evidence either tomorrow or Wednesday, is taking on the airline he set up more than 15 years ago over a branding licence established when easyJet floated in 2000.
The agreement saw easyJet keep 75 per cent of revenues, which it saw as “core” to being an airline, while easyGroup, which is owned by Haji-Ioannou, would retain 25 per cent of revenues which were made from additional or non-core services.
Speedy boarding, baggage handling fees and the sale of food onboard are some of the services at the focus of the dispute, which easyJet says count as “core” to the airline’s business.
Should the courts rule in Haji-Ioannou’s favour, it could see easyJet either forced to ditch its orange branding or pay out hefty royalties.
Outgoing chief executive Andy Harrison is also expected to take to the stand this week. He is being replaced by GMG’s Carolyn McCall.
This comes on the back of increasing tension between Haji-Ioannou and the easyJet board, which clashed recently over plans to expand the airline’s fleet. Haji-Ioannou resigned from the board last month and said the airline’s growth plans “didn’t make sense”.