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Fastjet benefits from new Malawi routes but expects turbulence at the end of the year

Following the addition of new routes to Malawi in July 2015, Fastjet has announced a boost in the number of passengers to Tanzania in August 2015. The airline has had a successful first half of 2015, however, it has been cautious on its outlook for the second half of the year in light of the looming election in Tanzania.

Fastjet benefits from new Malawi routes but expects turbulence at the end of the year

Budget airline Fastjet has reported on a significant boost in the number of travellers who booked flights to Tanzania in August 2015. The UK based airline carried a total of 76,741 passengers representing a 75 per cent load factor for the month.

Officials for the airline attributed the boost in numbers to the fact that it had introduced new routes to Malawi in July 2015 and in addition to this Fastjet also increased the frequency on some pre existing routes. Fastjet CEO Ed Winter stated:

"We are delighted to report record monthly passenger numbers for the second consecutive month, further affirming the growing appetite for low cost aviation across southern and eastern Africa, August is traditionally a strong month but with a capacity increase of 23 percent versus August 2014, we are delighted to maintain such strong demand."

Fastjet, co-founded by easJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is quickly becoming one of the leading airlines in Africa. For the first quarter of 2015, Fastjet recorded saw a year on year increase in revenues from $19m to $31.5m. Much of the increase was owed to a 56 per cent growth in the number of passengers.

Not willing to rest on its laurels, the airline is aggressively pursuing its expansion in the region. Fastjet is currently working towards establishing bases in top African holiday destinations including Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. To this end, Fastjet has already raised £50m from its investors.

However, it is not all smooth sailing for the airline as it has had to grapple with the political realities of the region. Recently Fasjet issued a warning to its investors that market turmoil and uncertainty linked to the upcoming elections in Tanzania would impact on the firm's earnings in the second half of the year.

Fasjet is now expected to fall short of forecasts. Additionally, efforts to establish bases in Zimbabwe and Zambia were hit by regulatory delays. Both bases are now expected to begin operations by the end of the year; however, the firm has had to absorb losses due to the delays.

Though it has hit some turbulence in the second half of 2015, many feel that Fastjet is well positioned to achieve its goal of becoming the first budget pan-African airline.

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