The online arena may soon witness EasyJet competing with Travelocity and Expedia. The U.K. budget airline is thinking of dropping the brand name – which doesn’t sit well with major shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. In a ‘I’ll take my marbles and play elsewhere’ move, the Greek business tycoon says he’ll use his EasyJet name to launch an online retail business.
As Breaking Travel News reports, that could be the outcome if current management is unable to reach an agreement with Stelios about future strategy and business operations. The two sides have been loudly squabbling for some time now. Sir Stelios, who controls 38% of easyJet’s shares, resigned from the board last month in a disagreement over expansion plans. He wants to pursue a more conservative growth strategy with fewer new aircraft and pay shareholders a dividend instead.
The airline hopes that dropping the EasyJet name may lessen Stelios’ influence. Stelios currently licences the name to the airline for £1 a year and if the airline rebranded, Sir Stelios would be entitled to use the easyJet name – to start up another venture.He is understood to believe that online travel agencies offer better return on capital than airlines.
A spokesman for EasyJet said that the board had considered rebranding as a worst-case scenario but did not believe there were grounds for the licensing agreement to be terminated.