easyJet jibes at BA ‘cheap tricks’

Low-cost airline easyJet has made a direct attack on British Airways over its plans to set up a low-cost airline in Europe.

BA announced in July that it was considering setting up a low-cost airline and is now understood to have chosen to run the operation out of Stansted airport, with April as a tentative start date – though BA says it has not decided whether to launch or not.

In a new development, easyJet has taken out a full-page ad in today’s (Tuesday) Financial Times suggesting that BA would only set up a low-cost operation as a way of eliminating competition from existing low-cost operators, like easyJet.

easyJet’s ad, which is understood to have been written by the company’s combative founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, says BA will “screw it up and lose a fortune” and will also “open the door to legal action from existing low-cost airlines”.

“If they’re not doing it for the money the only possible reason is to eliminate smaller competitors like easyJet and then put their fares up again,” it adds.

easyJet is planning to run its first TV ad campaign in London in November. The ads will be set in a butcher’s shop and show a woman asking for a good value joint of meat. The butcher trims the fat off the joint which represents travel agents’ commissions, congested airports and airline freebies – all to emphasise easyJet’s low-cost proposition. The campaign’s strapline is: “easyJet: virtually fat-free flying.”

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