Stelios’ FastJet to launch in October with A319s

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Published: July 5, 2012

Artist’s impression of a Fastjet Airbus. Courtesy, Fastjet

FastJet, the new African low-cost carrier backed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has selected Airbus A319s and is aiming for an October launch.

Rubicon Diversified Investments is launching FastJet under brand license from Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup ( ATW Daily News, Jun. 14 ). Under the licensing deal, EasyGroup has appointed former easyJet and Go COO Ed Winter as Rubicon CEO.

“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,” Winter said. The aircraft will be leased and configured with 156 seats.

Lessor Nomura Babcock & Brown will supply FastJet’s first aircraft, which is slated for delivery in September or October. Negotiations for further additions are underway and FastJet expects to sign an A319 MRO agreement with a major European company in the coming months.

FastJet’s launch will be boosted by Rubicon’s recent acquisition of Lonrho Aviation, which has 10 aircraft flying in Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania under the brand Fly540. The deal, which was completed June 29, was one of the pre-conditions for Rubicon’s use of the FastJet brand.

“Our management team has been actively engaged in detailed discussions with  a number of governments to  lobby for incentives  and reduced passenger  taxes, factors that will affect  our final  decision on  where to  deploy the  first  A319s,” Rubicon and Lonrho executive chairman David Lenigas said. “From the outset, the company will be flying approximately 750,000 passengers a year in Africa with bases in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola.”

Rubicon expects passenger numbers to double from current levels within six months of the introduction of the A319 fleet.

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