fastjet sees losses widen in challenging African market

fastjet sees losses widen in challenging African market

Low-cost African carrier fastjet has recorded a group operating loss of US$64 million for the financial year to December 31st.

The figure reveals losses widening from US$37.9 million the previous year.

Nico Bezuidenhout, fastjet chief executive, commented: “Last year was a challenging year and these financial results reflect not only a difficult market place but also the overly optimistic expansion plan adopted in early 2015.

“Since I became chief executive on August 1st last year, we have successfully initiated a stabilisation plan to address the immediate challenges. 

“However, although good progress has been made many of the plan’s benefits to reduce our cost base, and match capacity with demand, have naturally taken time to feed through and as such will only be materially realised in 2017. 

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“Nevertheless, the effects of the stabilisation plan in the second half of 2016 saw fastjet withdraw from a number of loss-making routes and remove surplus capacity such that while between July and December, capacity was reduced by 25 per cent, passenger numbers were only down by three per cent and revenues rose by five per cent.”

fastjet signed a strategic and operational partnership with Solenta Aviation in January providing three E145 aircraft at reduced lease rates.

Solenta acquired a 28 per cent shareholding in fastjet as part of the deal.

Bezuidenhout continued: “The final stages of the stabilisation plan are now implemented and the strong progress we have made means that fastjet’s cost base will be significantly reduced by the third quarter of 2017 and that we are well on the way to fulfilling our baseline aim of achieving a cash flow break even position by the fourth quarter of 2017.”

Since the year-end, fastjet has completed a US$28.8 million in fundraising.