The following article appeared in atwonline today:
"African budget carrier Fastjet has suspended operations at its Fly540 Ghana subsidiary as part of its long-running battle to curb its legacy Fly540 losses.
FastJet acquired African regional airline Fly540 to accelerate its low-cost launch, giving it instant access to air operators’ certificates in Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. It used this as a platform to launchFastjet-branded Airbus A319 operations from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in November 2012.
However, Fastjet has struggled to secure route rights for its budget expansion—partly due to questions over ownership and control—and its legacy Fly540 business has been racking up losses. Earlier in May, Fastjet suspended Fly540’s Angolan operation—pending restructuring—and said Ghana was also on its watch list.
Ghana has now followed in the footsteps of Angola. “Fly540 operations in Ghana are being temporarily suspended pending further restructuring. Fly540 has served notice on the leasing agreement it holds on one ATR aircraft in Ghana,” Fastjet said in a statement. It has already put two ATRs, previously operating in Ghana and Angola, up for sale.
Fastjet CEO Ed Winter said the legacy Fly540 business is not part of its core low-cost model. He reiterated his ambition to launch Fastjet low-cost operations in both Angola and Ghana in the long term.
For the shorter term, Fastjet is focusing on East and Southern Africa; it is aiming to establish bases in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia. “These plans are progressing well,” Winter said.