Africa will get a discount airline operating flights continentwide after industrial group Lonrho recruited EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou to help transform its aviation assets into a low-cost carrier.
Lonrho’s Fly540 unit will be used to establish the Fastjet brand, with services starting in Ghana this year and extending to East Africa and Angola. Rubicon Diversified Invest-ments will facilitate the move through a reverse takeover, the companies said last week.
Stelios, who goes by his first name, will join the Rubicon board and get 5% of its stock and 0.5% of yearly sales for providing consulting services and use of the Fastjet name, which he owns. Ed Winter, a former EasyJet executive who becomes Rubicon’s chief, said consumer-spending expansion makes Africa ready to support a discount carrier of the kind that has transformed short-haul flying in the US, Europe and Asia.
“The African aviation market is significantly underserved and there are massive opportunities for growth,” Winter, who has also worked at British Airways, said in an interview.