Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has taken a step towards forming a low-cost African carrier under the name Fastjet, with the sale of Lonrho’s aviation business to British-based investment firm Rubicon.
Under the agreement of the $87.5 million sale, the Easyjet founder will take a five per cent share in Rubicon, with Easy Group having the right to appoint two members to the board of Rubicon, and former Easyjet COO Ed Winter becoming CEO of the planned Fastjet.
Lonrho’s aviation business currently flies under the Fly540 branding, with operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Ghana. Co-incidentally the carrier’s livery and website uses a similar orange colour scheme to that of Easyjet.
In a statement Rubicon said that “The combined talents of Rubicon’s management team and our partners from Lonrho and Sir Stelios’ easyGroup will transform Fly540, already a growing and successful business, into Fastjet, a low cost, point-to-point, no frills all jet airline for Africa.”
The statement added that “Plans for the launch of ‘Fastjet’ are underway but not yet finalised and the introduction of an appropriate fleet of modern jet aircraft may require the raising of additional funding”.
Report by Mark Caswell