Sir Stelios, a step closer to form a new low-cost African carrier
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is a step closer to forming a new low-cost African carrier following the sale of LonrhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s aviation business to British-based investment firm Rubicon.
Lonrho confirmed it had sold its aviation unit to Rubicon for $86 million in Rubicon shares. As part of the deal, SteliosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easyGroup will own 5 percent of Rubicon, according to reports.
The planned Fastjet carrier will be developed on the existing Lonrho Aviation platform under the Fly540 brand.
In a statement Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is another small but significant step in bringing the dream of low cost air travel to millions of people in Africa Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the aviation industryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last frontier.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Past experience shows by halving fares, a successful low-cost carrier can encourage those people, who have never previously travelled by air, to fly.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For Africa, with its densely populated cities separated by great distances – this means a potential new market of millions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Rubicon said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The combined talents of RubiconÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s management team and our partners from Lonrho and Sir SteliosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ EasyGroup will transform Fly540, already a growing and successful business, into Fastjet, a low cost, point-to-point, no frills all jet airline for Africa.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The statement added: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Plans for the launch of Ã¢â‚¬ËœFastjetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ are underway but not yet finalised and the introduction of an appropriate fleet of modern jet aircraft may require the raising of additional fundingÃ¢â‚¬Â.
FastJet will fly between Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola and the average fare will be $70-$80. Ed Winter, former easyJet chief operating officer will become Fastjet CEO.
Flights are expected to take off before the end of the year.