EasyJet PLC’s (LON:EZJ) main shareholder Stelios haji-ioannou has stepped up his campaign to get a huge order with Airbus scrapped.
His vehicle EasyGroup has called a meeting to remove Andreas Bierwirth as a director in line with a threat to remove the airline’s non-execs one-by-one over the next seven weeks.
Ioannou is at loggerheads with the board over the US$4.5bn Airbus order, which he claims puts the airline's survival in question in the current environment.
A letter sent last week set out a list of demand including scrapping the order through a force majeure clause and the appointment of an independent law firm to investigate whether bribery was involved in any of the contracts.
Easyjet has also been under fire more generally for paying out a £174mln dividend just days before grounding its fleet and putting its staff under the umbrella of the UK government-funded furloughing scheme.
Ioannou controls 34% of the airline’s shares and received £60mln from that dividend distribution.
In his letter, he said the airline needs to raise cash through a right issue, not government loans.
“If we don’t pay Airbus we don’t need government loans. It would be an abuse of taxpayers’ money to obtain loans to pay Airbus for an unprofitable investment in 107 aircraft.
“We should raise equity.”