Thursday, June 27, 2013

■ TANZANIA: fastjet in talks with four other African carriers regarding possible tie-ups: Winter.

fastjetOn the back of recent investments in South Africa and Nigeria, fastjet (FN) is reportedly in negotiations with as many as four airlines over possible partnerships, as the struggling LCC attempts to spread its wings across the continent, albeit circuitously. 

fastjet A320
fastjet in Tanzania
In an interview with South Africa's BusinessDay, fastjet's new CEO, Ed Winter, stated that the negotiations "may include the acquisition of equity" as a means of entering various untapped markets which, while potentially lucrative, are highly restricted, regulated and therefore difficult to gain entry to.

While no specific names were mentioned, Mr Winter said that they were a combination of both private and government-owned airlines. He went on to add that the size of the stake that fastjet may take in other African carriers would depend on the level of assistance required by the partner airline or the partner airline’s ability to access finance. 
"Anything between 10% and 20% would be enough to give us a voice on the board, but we would want to show our value through the quality of service of the fastjet brand as well as the value in the support services we have. We won’t need more than that," he said. 
Source [BusinessDay]

If there was a greater funding requirement, he said, fastjet had not had trouble in the past raising money when it needed it. fastjet recently announced it had secured financing of up to USD23.5million through an equity deal with Darwin, a subsidiary of fund managers Henderson Global Investors Volantis Capital.

On the issue of the brand's South African venture, meant to have begun operations in early July but now postponed owing to the airline's Tanzanian outfit having been granted traffic rights to Kigali, Johannesburg and Lusaka, Mr Winter said he did not want to commit to dates other than to say the service to South Africa would be operational "well before" the end of the year. Once operations in Tanzania had stabilized then all focus would shift to developing a presence in South Africa.