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Easyjet founder plans a new longhaul transatlantic carrier.

Byline: PeterElson

SIR Stelios Haji-Iaonnou, founder of Easyjet, is planning a new airline which will compete with BA and Virgin on routes to North America. Sir Stelios' proposed longhaul Fastjet service is unlikely to directly rival budget airline Easyjet, which operates European shorthaul flights from bases like Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The Daily Post reported last week Sir Stelios wrote to Easyjet, in which he and his family hold a 37% stake, saying he plans to for m a new airline.

Meanwhile his disagreement with Easyjet's management worsened. It was believed the new venture might compete with Easyjet, but it is more likely to be a transatlantic carrier.

Apparently, Fastjet is only one of a number of names the billionaire is considering registering. He may also register 'Stelios' as a brand.

Sir Stelios is also thought to be working in partnership with other entrepreneurs who are already attempting to create an airline.

Easyjet said last week Sir Stelios alleges the directors breached the terms of a 'comfort letter' dated last October by allegedly failing to remain committed to enhancing the Easyjet brand's reputation. Easyjet "emphatically" rejected his claims.

This comfort letter included a 'mutual respect' clause which prevented Sir Stelios from speaking negatively of the airline, while also preventing him from either setting up a rival airline or becoming a significant holder in another carrier.

Easyjet vowed to fight Sir Stelios if Fastjet infringes its rights, although it tries "to seek constructive dialogue".
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 3, 2011
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