EasyJet founder Sir Steltio Haji-Ioannou is reportedly injecting £5 million as part of a £30 million fund raising exercise by African budget carrier Fastjet.
The share placing will help provide net working capital for expansion and the acquisition of aircraft, identified as used Airbus A319s.
Sir Stelios, who has a 10.8% stake in Fastjet and remains a major shareholder in easyJet, is acquiring about 10% of new shares being issued through his easyGroup, The Times reported.
Fastjet wants to expand in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa.
“This will be sufficient to build a sizeable operation in each country,” the airline said. “Building on the success of the Tanzanian operation, Fastjet plans to roll out the model across the African Continent.
“The airline has identified five countries – Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa – as key markets for expansion of its business plan.”
Fastjet operates three A319s operating from Tanzania but says it has the potential to reach a fleet of 34 aircraft by 2018.
“Fastjet’s long-term strategy is to become the Continent’s most successful pan-African low-cost airline,” the airline said.
The airline currently has three domestic routes operating in Tanzania linking Dar es Salaam with Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and Mbeya, and four international routes from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, Harare, Entebbe and Lusaka.
Chief executive Ed Winter said the target over the next three and a half years is to try to capture around 1% of the population of the six countries it has chosen to operate in.
He said the fund raising was a “transformative step towards achieving Fastjet’s goal of building Africa’s most successful pan-continental low-cost airline.”
The airline also announced that non-executive director Clive Carver has been appointed as interim non-executive chairman to lead the search for “an appropriate long-term non-executive chairman for the next stage in the company’s development”.
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