Emirates in talks for partnership with Africa's Fastjet

Low-cost carrier, founded by easyjet boss Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is set to start international flights

Dubai’s Emirates Airline is in talks regarding a potential partnership with Fastjet, the African low-cost carrier founded by easyjet boss Stelios Haji-Ioannou, as the Tanzania-based carrier was last week granted permission to launch international flights.

“Discussions with Emirates continue re a potential partnership,” a Fastjet spokesperson told Arabian Business.

The African start-up airline said last week it had been granted permission to launch international flights from Tanzania to South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda after receiving route approvals from the relevant governments under the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) between Tanzania and the other countries.

However, the company said it had decided to put the launch of fastjet-branded domestic routes in South Africa temporarily on hold to focus on launching international services as soon as possible.

"We remain totally committed to launching the fastjet brand in South Africa as soon as possible ... we have taken the sensible decision to prioritize setting up these lucrative and high profile routes first, before turning our attention to launch the fastjet brand on domestic routes in South Africa," said Ed Winter, Fastjet's chairman and chief executive.

Winter added that the company would soon announce launch dates for flights to Johannesburg, Kigali and Lusaka from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Fastjet, which has ambitions to become the first pan-African low-cost carrier, was created following the acquisition of African airline Fly540, and operates from four bases in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola.

Fastjet, which has 10 aircraft serving around 25 destinations within Africa, said it had agreed to create a low-cost airline operating within Nigeria and across Africa with Nigeria's Red 1 Airways.

Fastjet also said it had signed a new three year equity financing agreement for up to £15m ($23.5m) with Darwin, a subsidiary of Henderson Global Investors Volantis Capital, after having drawn £1.13m ($1.77m) from its existing facility.

Emirates, the world’s largest airline in terms of international traffic, currently operates to 22 cities in Africa. Jean-Luc Grillet, head of commercial operations for Africa at Emirates, said in December 2012 statement the carrier was “willing to work with FastJet”.

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