Fastjet set to take off by October

4 Jul 2012 by BusinessTraveller

Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s new African no-frills airline Fastjet is expected to begin flying by October.

Fastjet, which will be run by UK-based investment firm Rubicon, has agreed a deal with Airbus to use leased A319 aircraft for the launch of the new venture.

Last month Rubicon purchased Lonrho’s aviation business, which currently flies under the Fly540 branding, with operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Ghana (see online news June 13). Fastjet will begin flying from bases in these four countries later this year.

As part of the deal, Haji-Ioannou has received a five per cent shareholding in Rubicon and his Easygroup company has licensed the Fastjet brand to Rubicon.

The entrepreneur has also put together the airline’s management team including chief executive Ed Winter, formerly chief operating officer at Easyjet for four years, and will act as a consultant to Fastjet.

Winter, said: “The decision to launch FastJet with the Airbus A319 enables us to expand rapidly with each aircraft potentially carrying around 250,000 passengers a year. Rubicon expects passenger capacity to double from current levels within six months of the introduction of the A319 fleet.

“We plan to add at least five leased Airbus A319 aircraft to the fleet within six months of launch and up to 15 within a year.”

The Airbus A319 features 156 seats and Rubicon said the aircraft was chosen “after an extensive evaluation of a wide range of options and is ideally suited to the company's expansion plans”.

Rubicon’s executive chairman David Lenigas added: “From the outset, the company will be flying approximately 750,000 passengers a year in Africa with bases in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola.”

Haji-Ioannou announced plans for a new no-frills airline Fastjet last year (see online news September 16, 2011).

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Report by Rob Gill

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