FastJet: Stelio's EasyGroup to Establish a new Low Cost Airline in Africa

There is a reason for Africa to smile; it's recent economic successes in the last 5 years are not going unnoticed and now EasyJet Founder, the British Billionaire Stelios Haji–Ioannou is planning to launch a new low cost airline in Africa under the FastJet brand. There are no details on this yet.
Mr. Haji-Ioannou's easyGroup, which runs ventures from car hire, cybercafes, hotels and gym membership, is to invest in Rubicon Diversified Investments PLC, a former software company that has now entered the aviation business and will operate the airline under the brand FastJet.

Stelios has had troubles with the airline he founded and even signed an agreement with EasyJet which compels him not establish or acquire interests in any other airline or new airline in the European Economic Zone and Switzerland for at least 5 years in return for $450,000 annually. It's a Steve Jobs like scenario where the founder becomes estranged with a company he founded or with the management of the company he founded. Stelios founded EasyJet in 1995 at the age of 28 with a loan from his shipping magnate father and the company has since grown into one if Europe's largest Low Cost Airlines.

Given that he's locked out of Europe, Africa is clearly the natural choice for Stelios. The continent's key economies are confidently powering ahead with steady growth, more Africans are crossing into the middle class status and air travel and passenger numbers are quickly picking up. Also, the low cost model is not well developed so there's a real golden opportunity in Africa. I think a low cost Pan African outfit would definitely win the market. Currently, most low cost airlines have regional focus in their operations. Fly540, the dominant player in the market services Africa with three hubs in Kenya, Angola and Ghana. South African low cost carriers mostly service South Africa and a few neighboring countries. The rest of the continent is at the mercy of the legacy carriers like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, South African Airways, Egypt Air, and others.

According to Stelios, "Africa must now represent the final frontier of this aviation revolution which started in the U.S. in the 70s and which I was proud to have led in Europe in the 90s."

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