01 January 1998

THE LUTON BASED low-cost direct-sell carrier EasyJet has been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority by the council-owned airport for allegations made in recent local newspaper ads. These alleged that the council's development plans were too ambitious, making it difficult for EasyJet to operate and were headlined 'Don't let them build the Taj Mahal on your airport'. EasyJet boss Stelios HajiIoannu was angered last September by the airport's refusal to allow EasyJet onto its list of companies bidding to run the airport, at which Stelios blustered noisily about suing the council. Luton Airport marketing director John Kingsford regretted having to complain to the ASA, but said it could not accept EasyJet's public allegations: 'We would prefer such things were discussed in private. Our future is together.' Meantime, Stelios is raising the stakes in the poker game with Luton [he can afford to: Daddy is a shipping multi-millionaire] by re-bidding for Dutch charter operator Air Holland which rejected an earlier offer from him as inadequate. If successful this would give Stelios a base at Amsterdam Schipol and pile the pressure on Luton.