FastJet Fills Flights as Initial African Operations Avoid Delays

FastJet Plc, a low-cost African airline, said it carried 29,547 passengers in its first full month of operations and avoided flight disruptions related to infrastructure.

The airline, which began flying on Nov. 27, filled 78.9 percent of seats in December, the London-based carrier said in a statement today. The company’s wider business, including legacy Fly540 airline operations it acquired, rose 54.4 percent to 697,267 passengers last year.

FastJet, which operates Airbus SAS A319s, is trying to expand its network to dominate intra-African low-cost travel and last month obtained an option to acquire 1time Airline in South Africa to win traffic rights in one of the region’s largest markets. The carrier has already initiated talks with Emirates, the world’s largest carrier by international traffic, about a partnership to gain market share.

Last month’s performance “clearly demonstrates the latent demand for low cost reliable air travel in Africa,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Winter said. “Concerns over infrastructure have proved unfounded with no scheduled FastJet flights canceled,” he said.

The carrier also said it raised 1.07 million pounds ($1.7 million) by issuing 26.7 million shares to a Henderson Global Investors Volantis Fund unit. “Funds will be used for general working capital and expansion of the FastJet network in Africa,” it said.

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