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easyJet branding dispute lands in court

If founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wins case, he may strip airline of easyJet brand which he licens

A branding dispute between easyJet and its founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is set to begin today in the high court.

Haji-Ioannou, who founded easyJet 15 years ago, has charged the budget airline with violating a branding agreement which allowed it to derive a maximum of 25 per cent of its revenue from ancillary sources, with the rest coming from its core flying activity.

The airline's founder, who still holds 38 per cent of easyJet shares along with his family, holds that its baggage check-in charges, which raked in £238m last year, are not a part of easyJet's core activity. The airline management would be arguing otherwise.

Both Haji-Ioannou and the airline's outgoing boss Andy Harrison are expected to appear in court to give evidence.

If Haji-Ioannou wins the case, he may strip the airline of the easyJet brand which he licenses to it for £1 a year. He reportedly wants to launch an online travel agency with the same name.

Sir Stelios resigned from the easyJet board last month as director, and has publicly criticised the airline for its aggressive expansion plans, share price underperformance, and lack of dividend.