Fastjet Finally Gets License To Operate In Kenya, Hurdles Still Remain

Fastjet Finally Gets License To Operate In Kenya, Hurdles Still Remain

Low cost pan African airline Fastjet has received one of the two licenses it needs to fly domestically in Kenya, taking it closer to launching its local operations.

Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) gazetted the carrier’s Air service License to four towns — Mombasa, Kisumu, Wajir and Eldoret — in the East African nation that are already being plied by other low-cost carriers.

In October last year, the London Stock Exchange-listed company had announced that it had got the license only for KCAA to deny the announcement saying it ha not formally issued the license and would do so at a later date.

KCAA allowed Fastjet to operate international flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last year.

Gilbert Kibe, KCAA’s director general, told Business Daily that Fastjet had started the process of getting an air operating certificate (ASL) that will finally allow it to start flying with Kenya.

“The ASL is basically the commercial authority for Fastjet to operate domestic and international flights from JKIA,” Kibe said, adding that this could take five to wight months depending with how fast the airline complied with all regulations.

Despite challenges, Fastjet has been expanding both its in-country flights and international routes. it plans to build a fleet of up to 34 aircraft plying over 40 destination across Eastern and Southern Africa.

There have been claims of favoritism by KCAA in the way it give out licenses, with Fastjets application being dragged out.

“Now that the Air Service Licence has been formally gazetted – of course with the KCAA one can never be sure what other spanners they plan to throw into the Fastjet works,” Wolfang Thome said in a piece published by eTurbo News.

Fastjet currently flies from Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Kenya, according to the airline’s website.

The airline warned in December that revenue in 2015 and 2016 would be lower than previously anticipated, FinancialTimes reported. It cited unfavorable currency conditions and a tough airline market.

Fastjet has been in operation since November 2012. The airline was created to duplicate the success of low cost European operators such as easyJet in Africa.

In Tanzania, demand fell for flights around the time of the presidential election in October, with fewer civil servants and government officials traveling.