Fastjet, the aspirant pan-African budget airline, has increased its presence in SA and Southern Africa with a brand-licensing agreement with Federal Airlines in SA and Solenta Aviation in Mozambique.

Travel industry publication Travel Meetings & Buyer reports that the airline has moved its head office from London to SA.

On Friday, holding company fastjet plc told its shareholders on the London Stock Exchange’s Aim exchange that it had raised $28m in a share placement and had agreed to a further $44.2m subscription with Solenta Aviation, bringing the company’s capitalisation to about $50m.

Fastjet flies domestically in Tanzania from its hub in Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, and Mwanza, and internationally from Tanzania to Lusaka, Harare and Victoria Falls, and from Harare and Victoria Falls to Johannesburg.

Fastjet spokesman Hein Kaiser said the FedAir brand would ultimately be replaced by the fastjet brand and that it was similar to other airline brand models such as the British Airways franchise in SA.

The brand licence agreement would not change how Fedair was managed operationally, he said. "It is a vehicle for the South African market entry of the fastjet brand on the one hand and on the other — and where it would affect Fedair — a brand change that will be phased in based on consultation of all stakeholders, notably our Travel Agent partners and lodge owners and operators.

"It would not be dissimilar to, for example, any well-known trademark being applied to a product or a service. The brand values are consistent but the product may vary," said Kaiser.

It did mean, though, that FedAir aircraft would ultimately fly in fastjet livery, he said.

Although fastjet is now extending its presence in SA, it is not planning to establish a hub in the country.

Fastjet is headquartered in Bedfordview, Johannesburg. Its African hubs are in Harare, Zimbabwe and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "Our headquarters will remain where we are situated at this point and FedAir’s OR Tambo [International Airport] operations will remain in place as is, with no change to the position holders accountable for managing FedAir," said Kaiser.

Fastjet operates a fleet of Embraer E145 aircraft as well as Airbus A319s, although this aircraft will be replaced by Embraer E190s. It also flies three ATR 72 turboprop aircraft and will soon include FedAir’s brand-licensed fleet.


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