Fastjet Tanzania announced in December that all operations had been suspended after months of uncertainty. The suspension comes roughly a month after a change in ownership, with the airline’s new directors working on a relaunch.
In October, after the announcement of poor interim results for the first half of 2018, fastjet PLC CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout, alluded to potential changes for Tanzanian operations. At the time, fastjet PLC was a 49% shareholder in fastjet Tanzania.
Commenting on a decision to halt funding the loss-making Tanzanian operation, Bezuidenhout, said: “From our perspective, there are alternative growth markets available on the continent and, in the short term, we see a better use of funding.” He cited strong growth markets in its Zimbabwe and Mozambique subsidiaries.
Fastjet PLC then announced that it would sell its Tanzanian operation. The sale was completed in November with the airline remaining under the fastjet brand, but being operated independently.
New airline, same brand
Hein Kaiser, previously with Fastjet PLC based in South Africa, is a new Director of fastjet Tanzania. He told Tourism Update: “Fastjet is a great brand, and we have no immediate plans to change anything. After this hiatus, we fully intend to resume operations, particularly considering that in December, we were awarded eight additional routes, including Kigoma.” He said the airline in fact welcomed this short break, “as it gives us time to unpack the challenges we inherited”.
On December 17 the airline implemented a temporary suspension following a 28-day notice from the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) regarding the airline’s failure to meet TCAA requirements.
Flights between Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Mbeya, Lusaka and Harare have all been placed on hold.
Kaiser said: “We are co-operating with the TCAA to resolve the legacy that continues to haunt the airline.” He said the TCAA’s concerns included the transition of accountable management, the re-fleeting of the airline and ensuring sustained operations thereafter.
The airline is currently negotiating with several lessors. “While we can’t put a date on our resumption of services as yet, it will be soon and fastjet Tanzania will be stronger and better than before,” said Kaiser.
Donahue Cortes, Head of Compliance and Organisation at fastjet PLC, told Tourism Update that fastjet Zimbabwe and Mozambique continued to operate from their respective bases in Harare and Maputo. He added that both airlines had undergone schedule adjustments, adding frequencies on routes with higher demand.
Tourism Update contacted the TCAA for more information about its reasons for suspending the airline but had not had a response at time of publication.
Vic Falls schedule change
Fastjet PLC has canned its regular Victoria Falls-Johannesburg service, effective January 10, as part of a strategic growth plan. The route will be operated seasonally over busy periods, including Easter, July to September and December to January.