fastjet Strategic Update - 14 November 2014

fastjet Plc

("fastjet" or the "Company")

fastjet Strategic Update

Zambia Air Service Permit (ASP) granted

fastjet plc is pleased to announce that fastjet Zambia Ltd has received an Air Service Permit (ASP) from the authorities in Zambia.

The ASP approval marks a major step towards launching fastjet operations in Zambia and will give the airline the authority to operate air services to both domestic and international destinations within and from Zambia.

The fastjet Zambia team is now focused on continuing the submission of the necessary documents and manuals to complete the application process for an Air Operating Certificate (AOC) which will then allow the commencement of operations.

Ed Winter, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of fastjet plc, said:

"We have been working tirelessly to roll out the fastjet model across the region and obtaining the ASP in Zambia is a really positive step forward. We still have to obtain the full AOC, but this vote of confidence from the authorities is a major step along that road.

"Timescales before the first flight will be dependent on the time taken for the authorities to review the AOC application documents. We look forward to going on sale and commencing operations in Zambia once that process has been completed."

fastjet commenced the process of obtaining the necessary licences earlier this year. Receiving an ASP means that the Zambian Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Transport has approved the business plan, aircraft choice and proposed structure of the planned airline as appropriate to operate in Zambia.

Zambia will be fastjet's second base from which it plans to operate low cost flights to various destinations in East and Southern Africa. Prices on regional routes from Zambia are currently very high especially so where a monopoly operator controls the route. Fastjet is confident that its low cost model will stimulate the market.

 
Uganda 5th Freedom Flights approved by Uganda

In addition, fastjet plc is pleased to announce that it has received permission from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority to operate flights from Uganda to Juba, Nairobi, Kigali and Johannesburg under "5th Freedom" rights using Tanzanian based aircraft.  Once the authorities in the relevant countries provide their approvals fastjet Tanzania will be able to offer flights linking Entebbe with these destinations.  

fastjet commenced operations from Dar es Salaam to Entebbe on the 16th September, and added additional flights in October and this new permission will further establish fastjet in Uganda and assist in the process of offering additional destinations to fastjet's  growing network.

Since Air Uganda ceased flying, the fares offered by other carriers for flights linking Uganda regionally have risen steadily. With fares, starting from as low as US$50 plus government taxes, fastjet is confident that it will attract considerable customer support.

Ed Winter, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of fastjet plc, said: "5th Freedom rights present a fantastic opportunity to increase the Tanzanian network, increasing aircraft utilisation and also establishing the fastjet brand in Uganda without the immediate establishment of a full Ugandan base. "

IATA definition 5th Freedom: This freedom is also sometimes referred to as "beyond rights". It is the right of an airline from one country to land in a second country, to then pick up passengers and fly on to a third country where the passengers then deplane

Tanzania

The Company is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement to enable Tanzanian participation in the ownership of fastjet Airlines Limited, its Tanzanian based airline (fastjet Tanzania).

fastjet Plc and fastjet Tanzania today entered into an agreement with Enterprise Growth Market Advisors Limited (EGMA) for the purpose of selling an interest in fastjet Tanzania to Tanzanian investors. As part of that agreement, fastjet Tanzania today issued 835 shares in its share capital (the Tanzania Shares) to fastjet International Limited, a company incorporated in Tanzania (fastjet Holdco), which is in turn is owned by four Tanzanian nationals including Ami Mpungwe, George Carmichael Theobald, John Corse and Sophia Rwegellera (the Tanzania Shareholders). fastjet Tanzania also issued a further 17 shares in fastjet Tanzania to each of Ami Mpungwe and Lawrence Masha, the two Tanzanian non-executive directors of fastjet Tanzania, being 34 shares in total and representing 2% of its enlarged share capital. The issue of these shares, which were issued nil paid, brings the total Tanzanian legal and beneficial ownership of fastjet Tanzania to 51%.

Under the terms of the arrangement, the Tanzania Shareholders have agreed to sell their interest in fastjet Holdco and/or fastjet Tanzania  to such Tanzanian investors (Subsequent Tanzanian Investors), at such price and on such terms as may from time to time be specified by fastjet Plc (the Placing Arrangements). Each of the Tanzania Shares (and the shares held by them in fastjet Holdco) which has not been transferred by the Tanzanian Shareholder to a Subsequent Tanzanian Investor is at all times subject to a call option in favour of fastjet Plc for the sum of USD 0.01 for each of the Tanzania Shares.

As a consequence of these changes fastjet Tanzania is expected to benefit from entry into new markets and have greater access to more international African destinations through the various Bilateral Air Service Agreements to which Tanzania is a party.

The Board of fastjet believes that the issue of the new shares and the Placing Arrangements will provide the near term benefit of local shareholding in Tanzania. It will initiate the process of finding suitable long term Tanzanian shareholders with the aim of fulfilling fastjet's ambition of having airline companies in strategic African jurisdictions which are part owned by nationals of the countries in which they are based to help in creating a truly pan-African airline.

 The issue of the Tanzania Shares will not provide any immediate cash release as the Tanzania Shares will be held by fastjet Holdco on a non paid up basis pending their sale to Subsequent Tanzanian Investors.

Funding

As set out in the interim results in September, until the contribution from operations exceeds central costs, there will be a requirement for additional funding for the Group. Furthermore, additional funding will be required for each significant phase of expansion including that in Zambia and Uganda, outlined above, as well as its near term working capital.  

The Board is in discussions with a number of potential funders, including industry partners and specialist African investors, with a view to investment both at the Group level and at the individual operating company level.  The Company is aiming to complete this necessary funding by early in the New Year.

Ed Winter, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of fastjet plc, said "We are delighted to have found a suitable structure which allows for Tanzanian participation in fastjet Tanzania, whilst providing the opportunity to raise capital from local Tanzanian investors. This is a positive and logical step in the implementation of our model of local investment and local finance for growth, and will aid in fastjet Tanzania being granted additional rights under Bilateral Air Service Agreements with other African countries on the continent.

It is pleasing to see that as a result of Management focus on the regulatory framework, approvals in both Uganda and Zambia have been granted. This is a very significant step along the road to becoming a truly pan African Low Cost airline."

 

For media enquiries please contact:

UK media - Citigate Dewe Rogerson                                                               Tel: +44 20 7638 9571

Angharad Couch

Eleni Menikou

South Africa media - Tribeca Public Relations                                               Tel: +27 11 208 5521

Cian Mac Eochaidh

For investor enquiries please contact:

W.H. Ireland Ltd.                                                                                                Tel: +44 (0) 20 7220 1666

James Joyce

Mark Leonard

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About fastjet plc

fastjet Plc is the holding company of the low-cost airline fastjet which commenced flight operations in Tanzania in November 2012. The airline operates a fleet of distinctively branded Airbus A319s and since its launch has grown to encompass the key domestic routes within Tanzania and a rapidly increasing number of international destinations. By adhering to international standards of safety, quality, security and reliability, fastjet has brought a new flying experience to the African market at unprecedented low prices.

fastjet is implementing the low-cost carrier model across Africa and its long-term strategy is to become the continent's first low-cost, pan-African airline.

By offering one way fares from as low as $20, fastjet has stimulated a new customer base; the results of a customer survey showed that 38% of fastjet passengers had never flown before. This democratisation of air travel is expected to gather momentum across the final continent to experience the low-cost airline revolution.

fastjet is committed to communicating effectively with its existing and potential customers and has, to date, won a number of marketing awards. With over 280,000 social media followers, it occupies a unique position in African aviation.

fastjet Plc is quoted on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market.

For more information see www.fastjet.com 

Posted on 14th November 2014