fastjet SA launch delayed again

2013-05-21 09:32

Johannesburg - fastjet has extended its much-anticipated launch in South Africa to July, not May 31 as previously announced. 

According to Business Day Live, ticket sales for the British-based airline were set to start on Thursday, but a glitch in the website scuppered the process. 

The low-cost carrier launched in Tanzania last year and has its eyes set on covering a pan-African flight route. While they initially looked to partner with and revive defunct local airline, 1time, their battled to get the requisite 75% local ownership stopped them in their tracks. 

However their plans to get a local foothold were restored when Blockbuster, a local company co-owned by President Jacob Zuma's son, Edward Zuma and local businessman, Yusuf Kajee offered to fulfill the 75% local shareholding requirement to operate an airline in South Africa. 

Partnered with Federal Air, which is best known for flying the well-to-do between game reserve, the airline's operations are set to kick off in the first week of July, with reservations opening in June. Federal Air's licensing structure allows it to fly internationally and use large aircraft, including the 737 that fastjet had in mind.

fastjet CEO Ed Winter had initially hoped to get the airline up and running in South Africa before Christmas last year.

fastjet has, however, been burdened with controversy since its foray into Africa in 2012, as it faced a claim amounting to over £1m from Tanzanian authorities for not paying taxes for close to a year, raising many questions about its operations in South Africa.


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