Turbulent year hits African budget airline Fastjet

Caitlin Morrison
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The African airline cited a challenging market as one issue it faced in 2015 (Source: Fastjet)

London-listed African budget airline Fastjet said a poor financial performance in 2015 had overshadowed its progress with plans to dominate the region's low cost air travel market.

The figures

Revenue grew 21 per cent to $65.1m (£45.1m) from $53.8m in 2014.

The company narrowed its post-tax loss for the year to $16.9m from $58.5m.

Fastjet also reported an increase in its cash balance at year end to $28.9m from $1.4m at the end of the previous year.

Why it's interesting

The airline has endured a turbulent year. Not only has it been affected by what it deemed a challenging market, the group's management has been in turmoil.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the owner of EasyGroup, which is the brand owner and licensor of Fastjet, called on the African firm's board to answer questions over licence breaches and financial decisions.

The British entrepreneur called on Fastjet's then chief exec Ed Winter to step down, claiming: “The company has a ridiculously high-cost base... Winter has burnt some £80m in the last three years.

"We believe the company will run out of cash some time in 2016. We now have about six months left to steady this ship. Time is of the essence.”

What Fastjet said

The group said 2015 was "a year of change and challenge for the company".

While some significant successes and progress were made on achieving our vision to become the first truly pan-African low cost airline, challenging market conditions and poor financial performance overshadowed this.

Fastjet also said that, while it has "sufficient funds to meets its operational requirements for the foreseeable future", as these are sensitive to changes in passenger numbers and foreign exchange rates, among other things, the board is "considering a range of funding strategies in the short term, including asset sales, and expects to raise further funds in the near future to provide additional headroom and to ensure the company has the resources to fund future growth as markets improve".

In short

Fastjet has just endured a turbulent year - and is trying to prepare for more stormy weather ahead.

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