Monday, February 4, 2013

■ TANZANIA: Now Canada's AvMax Aircraft Leasing wants their pound of Fastjet flesh.

fastjetAvMax Aircraft Leasing has joined the growing list of disgruntled suppliers demanding their money from Fastjet (FN). The Canada-based ACMI firm recently wrote to Fastjet stating it had moved to deregister three of its aircraft previously leased to Fastjet's predecessor, Fly540 Tanzania, over USD2million worth of unpaid leasing and maintenance bills.

fly540Fly540 Tanzania is known to have operated a single Bombardier CRJ-100 in addition to Dash 8-100 wet-leased from Kenya's Fly540 division.

In a letter published in The Telegraph, Avmax vice-president Don Parkin directs that:
"As such, the lessor has elected to deregister the aircraft from the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Registry." The January letter said the deregistration would "be commenced immediately".
Avmax claimed the airline had undertaken to pay USD150,000 per month for the rental and maintenance of the planes.

Responding in a statement, FastJet denied it owed Avmax anything, saying: "There has never been a contractual arrangement between Avmax and FastJet plc and therefore FastJet plc does not owe any money to Avmax. Don Smith, through Fly540 in East Africa entered into contractual relationships with Avmax and under these commercial arrangements owes money to Avmax for unpaid aircraft lease rentals and maintenance reserves."
Source [The Telegraph]

A search of the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority's database reveals the aircraft to have indeed been deregistered.
A spokesman for Don Smith, Fly540's founder, denied Fastjet's argument and stated that when Fastjet acquired Lonrho Aviation, it acquired the debts of the company as well, thereby absolving Smith of any further financial obligations.

The debacle is likely to further sour Fastjet's relationship with Smith, with whom they have a another lawsuit regarding Fastjet's alleged failure to honour a deal to repay USD6.78million of debts that Don Smith guaranteed with Chase Bank in Kenya whilst head of Fly540.