Stelios-Backed FastJet to Announce Fundraising in Coming Weeks

Fastjet (RUBI), the discount airline for Africa to be created under the guidance of EasyJet Plc (EZJ) founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said it will announce plans to raise funds for expansion in the “next few” weeks.

“We’ll democratize air travel by bringing a low-cost model that will allow people to pay as little as $20 per flight,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Winter said in a telephone interview from London today. “We see many opportunities in Africa.”

Fastjet will be built from services offered through four regional hubs under the Fly540 brand of Lonrho Plc (LAF), which spun the airline off as part of Rubicon Diversified Investments Plc. Fly540 operates domestic services in Ghana and Angola, while regional flights are offered from Kenya and Tanzania to Uganda and South Sudan. Fastjet said it’s in talks to acquire new operating licenses.

“In any low-cost service, a third of the seats in a flight should cost about $20 for those who book early,” Winter said, adding that the average domestic and regional flight costs $70 to $80 in Africa.

Stelios’ EasyGroup Holdings Ltd. owns 5 percent of the company while London- and Johannesburg-listed industrial group Lonrho holds 73.7 percent, the company said in a statement on June 13. Stelios assembled the management team and will work as a consultant for Fastjet, said Winter.

Winter said Fastjet plans to increase its services across Africa, with the exception of South Africa.

Of particular interest to the company is west Africa, including Nigeria, a market of 170 million people, Winter said.

“A good, affordable network is needed to connect the cities there as there is very poor connectivity for the cities making up the region,” he said.

Winter was the chief executive officer of Go, the low-cost airline of the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) SA’s British Airways before joining EasyJet as chief operating officer, according to Fastjet.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at sikonathim@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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