Aspiring African LCC Operator Retains EasyJet Founder Haji-Ioannou

EasyJet Airbus A320
Would-be low-cost airline owner Rubicon Diversified Investments (RDI) is seeking advice from Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of major European operator EasyJet, which flies single-aisle Airbus A320s. (Photo: Airbus)
December 15, 2011, 11:47 AM

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who established and whose family retains almost 40 percent of British low-cost carrier (LCC) EasyJet, has partnered with UK entrepreneurs wanting to buy aviation companies. With about $14 million in start-up capital, Rubicon Diversified Investments (RDI) is employing Haji-Ioannou to advise on a possible African-market LCC business model.

“These funds will [help] to pursue our strategic goals,” said RDI chairman Robert Burnham. “We look forward to an intense period of planning with Stelios and his team to build a major aviation business focused on Africa. Market reception to our strategic plans has been extremely positive.”

Haji-Ioannou’s EasyGroup will own 5 percent of RDI (with an option on another 10 percent), and receive a 10-year royalty fee for RDI’s use of EasyGroup’s recently established “” brand, plus $750,000 for six months’ advice.

Lonrho, a long-established Africa-focused conglomerate, has acquired 12.75 percent of RDI, which has named as directors Lonrho chairman David Lenigas and chief executive Geoffrey White. Lonrho, which owns Kenyan LCC Fly540, uses Haji-Ioannou’s EasyHotel brand for 50 establishments in Africa.

Fly540 operates ATR turboprops and a Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet. African LCC services remain essentially restricted to South Africa, where a few operators compete against South African Airways.

Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.