Lunch with Monaco Life

Louise Simpson sails the skies over lunch with easyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and gets the lowdown on his latest aviation project, fastjet
Louise Simpson sails the skies over lunch with easyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and gets the lowdown on his latest aviation project, fastjet

“Aviation and Africa are both risky places to do business,” says Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, “so fastjet is twice as risky.”

I’m spearing Burgundy snails into my mouth as one of the world’s best-known businessmen tells me about his latest venture over lunch at the Quai des Artistes restaurant. It’s the typical Monaco tale where friends of friends end up creating multi-million-euro businesses together. The friend of a friend in question is fellow Monaco resident David Lenigas. Their collaboration started in 2011 when Lenigas chaired Lonrho – a British-colonial conglomerate with a small, unsuccessful airline. Lenigas turned to Stelios for help.

“We need to change the aircraft, we need to change the name, we need to change the business model,” Stelios replied…

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