01 February 1998

EASYJET CHAIRMAN Stelios Haji-Ioannou is calling on the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate Go, British Airways' planned move into the direct-sell, no-frills airline sector. In a letter to the Civil Aviation Authority, St. Elios attacks the British Airways dragon for concocting 'a clever plan to eliminate other low-cost carriers and then raise fares again'. He argues that potential cross-subsidisation by BA of Go could contravene EU legislation prohibiting the abuse of a dominant position. However, Catch 22 is that this law must first be broken before any action can be taken [allowing British Airways ample time to inflict mortal damage - as Sir Freddie Laker, Dan-Air, British Caledonian and others can testify]. Stelios calls on the CAA, which must approve Go's licence application, to investigate its finances 'in the manner best calculated to prevent BA from cross-subsidising or endowing Go with more capital than it will reasonably require to operate on normal commercial terms and to compete fairly'. Smirked a BA mouthpiece: 'Go will be run as a separate company and it will compete in a brand new market which offers plenty of room for new players.' The likely tone of Go's advertising is signalled by its choice of sales and marketing director - David Magliano, a former account director at Go's recently appointed agency HHCL & Partners. [Are we in for the usual HHCL, jump-cut, in-yer-face approach, complete with frenzied castrati Essex voice-over? Or the more arcane delights of incomprehensible pseudo-philosophy that emptied Mazda dealers' showrooms a few years back?]