EasyJet announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with Airbus regarding the delivery of aircraft which they were supposed to receive in the upcoming years. The agreement would see the carrier deferring the delivery of up to 24 Airbus A320-family jets which they were meant to receive in the next 3 years, helping the airline to cope with the predicted reduction of demand caused by the coronavirus crisis. Previously, EasyJet planned to receive 10 new aircraft in 2020, 12 in 2021 and 2 in 2022, which don’t have a fixed delivery date for now.
This move would help EasyJet reduce the amount of spending expected for the next years, which included a £4.8 billion aircraft order consisting of more than 100 new aircraft before the announcement was made. The statement also means that the carrier will be added to the growing list of airlines who will not be receiving any aircraft during the 2021 financial year, contributing to Airbus’ previously announced decision to cut aircraft production.
However, EasyJet’s largest stakeholder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who had already expressed his desire for the airline to cancel all of its future aircraft orders, has commented on the airline’s decision by saying that deferring the deliveries is like “kicking the can down the road”. Moreover, Haji-Ioannou has threatened on conducting a shareholder vote to expel two of the EasyJet’s board members if the board doesn’t manage to reduce the expenses for the following years.
Haji-Ioannou has also commented negatively on the airline’s decision of borrowing £1.1 billion from the UK guarantee programme, saying that EasyJet wants to use that money to pay off Airbus. He also added that if the airline fails to pay back the UK government because of that, he will “personally sue” those responsible.