EasyJet founder wants to launch new, rival airline

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2011 12:51 PM
EasyJet founder wants to launch new, rival airline

The founder and biggest shareholder of easyJet is planning to launch a new, rival airline, the budget carrier said Monday.

EasyJet said it received notice from Stelios Haji-Ioannou that he plans to launch the new brand soon. There were no immediate details on exactly when the new carrier will launch, or how it will differentiate itself from budget carrier easyJet.

A website for the proposed new airline simply reads: "Fastjet.com by Stelios. Coming soon!"

Stelios, who founded easyJet in 1995, remains the owner of its brand. He and his family own 38 percent of the company's shares.

But the entrepreneur has been embroiled in a series of conflicts with the airline.

The disputes included a legal battle over the use of the "easy" brand license and Stelios' criticism of easyJet's expansion plans.

EasyJet said Monday it would act if Fastjet or Stelios' other companies infringe on rights previously agreed between them.

It said it would seek "constructive dialogue" with Stelios and his private company easyGroup.