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Breakfast with Frost
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Stelios Haji-Ioannou, former chairman, Easyjet
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU DECEMBER 1ST, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: I just want to ask Stelios a question, that you were in the news this week as stepping down or stepping aside from the actual Easyjet operation, why's that. To do other Easy things is it?

STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU: Exactly, what I've done is I've handed over the chair of the board of Easyjet Plc the airline to an independent chairman, Sir Colin Chandler, that's what the City wants, that's how plcs do it. What I think I'm good at - if I may be so bold - is starting companies and that's what I enjoy doing, so I want to concentrate on my car rental company, my internet cafe chain and I'm planning to start a cinema company so I'm going to carry on creating companies.

DAVID FROST: How would, will the cinema company pride itself, like Easyjet, on being cheaper than other cinemas?

STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU: I am planning to make cinema tickets as cheap as 20 pence to get, to get into a show if you book in advance on a, on a Tuesday say, it should be cheaper than it is now. You go to the movies and it's empty, why have all that real estate sitting empty, you know, showing a movie for three people. If you make it cheaper more people will go.

DAVID FROST: And what about people who've been, businessmen who have been complaining after Gordon Brown's pre-Budget statement, I mean is business still good in Britain for you, is Britain still a good place to do business, to not get taxed?

STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU: I, I've chosen Britain to base Easyjet seven, eight years ago so I must believe in this country but I think that the tax is higher than it should be for corporations. I mean we compete with an airline from Ireland, Ryan Air and they pay ten per cent tax, we pay 30 per cent tax and we compete on the same, same market, the European market so I think the government ought to start looking at being more competitive on corporation tax.

DAVID FROST: Well it's great to have you with us and we look forward to those 20p cinema tickets on a Tuesday, yes?

STELIOS HAJI-IOANNOU: If you book in advance.

DAVID FROST: If you book in advance, if you book two years in advance, that's the only problem, you won't know what's going to be on but never mind. Thank you very much.

END


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