EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall has dismissed speculation that she was set to quit as she opened the airline’s 27th European base in Venice.
Some media reports had suggested last year that she had been in the running to take the top job at Marks & Spencer, a vacancy now filled by M&S veteran Steve Rowe.
“[M&S] approached me and I was not interested, I just want to stay at easyJet,” McCall told the Telegraph, adding that she will remain with the carrier for the “foreseeable future”.
She conceded that if she felt “I couldn’t add any more value, then that would be the time to think about what next to do”.
But she said: “I’m staying at easyJet. I love easyJet. I really like what I am doing and I am here to stay. No intention to leave.”
McCall told Reuters: “There’s a lot of profitable growth to come and we know exactly where we’ll put our aircraft to drive profitable growth.”
About three-quarters of the growth would come from adding frequencies to existing routes and connections between existing destinations, with the balance from new routes
The growth plan and the future challenge were enough to keep her hooked at easyJet, she said, where she took over in 2010.
Her comments came as larger low fares rival Ryanair upgraded its annual passenger forecasts by one million to 106 million.
“I don’t think they are more of a competitor, I think our competition remains the legacy carriers,” McCall said of Ryanair when asked about the competitive situation compared to two years ago. “There’s a lot for both of us to go for.”
EasyJet and Ryanair only compete on six per cent of routes between the same airports, unchanged since 2011, said McCall.
Opening an aircraft base in Venice fits with the airline’s strategy of attracting increasing numbers of business passengers who will now be able to take early morning flights from their companies in the industrialised zones around the city to business meetings elsewhere in Europe, she added.
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