I have a hard time calling the son of a Greek shipping magnate “scrappy,” but I guess Stelios Haji-Ioannou can afford to be:
…[I]n 1998, when British Airways launched a budget airline called Go to compete with EasyJet. Not only was Stelios on Go’s inaugural flight, but he and nine of his executives put on bright-orange jumpsuits and handed out free EasyJet tickets to all of the passengers. “The BA people didn’t know what to do, so they just watched us,” Stelios recalls with a satisfied smile. “We looked like clowns,” recalls James Rothnie, EasyGroup’s corporate communications chief. Halfway into the Rome-bound flight, Stelios was conducting interviews onboard with a bemused British press. The stunt moved the media to begin portraying little EasyJet as an intrepid challenger to the giant BA, invaluable publicity for Stelios. More important, Go struggled from the outset to compete with the hustling EasyJet and surrendered in 2002, when Stelios bought it and doubled the size of EasyJet in one stroke.
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