EasyJet shareholders defy founder to vote through aircraft purchases

EasyJet shareholders have outvoted the company's founder Stelios Haji-Ianonnou in agreeing to the multibillion pound purchase of up to 235 new Airbus planes (release).

Haji-Ianonnou and his family control nearly 37 per cent of the airline and opposed the move on the basis it was a bad deal for them and a good one for Airbus. However, investors narrowly voted through the proposals at 193.7m for (57 per cent) to 144.14m against. Some 346,087 votes were withheld.

Its thought the new planes will allow the company to boost passenger numbers from 60m a year to around 90m. The deal is estimated to be worth £11.9bn.

Speaking after the general meeting at easyJet's headquarters in Luton today, chairman John Barton 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.

However, Haji-Ianonnou said before the deal was approved:

I am not against replacing aircraft that have reached the end of their economic life. However I am against buying aircraft that are three times more expensive that the ones I bought with my own money in the early 2000s.