Budget airline raises $75 million for SA expansion

Tanzania-based low-cost airline, Fastjet, has raised $75 million (R896 million) for expansion into other African territories, including South Africa.

Established in 2012, it currently operates solely in Tanzania, but aims to expand into Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, while also adding new aircrafts to its fleet.

Fastjet’s chief executive, Ed Winter, told Reuters that EasyGroup, the investment vehicle of Haji-Ioannou, more commonly known as Stelios, took a bigger stake in the company.

Stelios founded European low-cost carrier easyJet in 1995 and started Fastjet in 2012 along with Winter.

The new fundraising round also included first time investors: Prudential’s M&G, UK equity fund manager Hexam Capital Partners LLP, investment manager J O Hambro Capital Management Ltd and South African investment group Old Mutual.

Fastjet aims to boost its fleet from the three it currently has to 34 strong by 2018, Winter told Reuters.

Chief commercial officer, Richard Bodin recently told SA FM: “As fastjet services increase with popular demand, we’re certainly looking to expand across South Africa. Our aim is to connect passengers to Cape Town as well as Durban, particularly in the future when we launch bases in both Zambia and also Harare, Zimbabwe.”

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Budget airline raises $75 million for SA expansion