UK: Coming up fast - Decisions - Stelios Haji-Ioannou/Easyjet.

UK: Coming up fast - Decisions - Stelios Haji-Ioannou/Easyjet. - MY BEST ... 'To ignore traditional distribution channels and sell seats on easyJet direct to the customer. That made the biggest single contribution to the success of the airline - all the

by ANDREW SAUNDERS.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST ... 'To ignore traditional distribution channels and sell seats on easyJet direct to the customer. That made the biggest single contribution to the success of the airline - all the other things we do (like not serving in-flight meals) are of secondary importance. Direct selling allows us to build a close relationship with our customers, and that generates a sustainable long-term competitive advantage. It has also provided the perfect platform for us to move into e-commerce and web-based ticket sales. Cutting out the travel agents was a big risk, though - it was far more daring than I realised at the time.'

MY WORST ...

'Not trusting my instincts when I was approached by BA.

Bob Ayling came to see me in November 1996 and expressed great interest in easyJet. I wasn't entirely convinced that he was serious. I ignored my misgivings because the fact that he was interested in my company at all was very flattering. After he had seen our books and how we operated he went away and I heard nothing more. Presumably that visit formed the basis of the Go strategy, which BA launched a few months later. Although it is based on easyJet, I don't think Go will be as successful. The conflicting interests of BA will hamper the business.'.

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