Fastjet to Replace Airbus Fleet with Embraer Aircraft
In a bid to save cost and avoid further loss, Africa’s fastest growing low cost carrier fastjet has decided to replace its Airbus fleet with Embraer regional jets.
The airline will by end of September return three of it’s leased 145-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, sub-lease two while selling the third which it owns.
Fastjet has already negotiated for three 108-seater Embraer E190’s on short term lease, with the first one expected to touch down in two weeks. The wet-lease program which includes pilots, cabin and maintenance crew will enable the new fleet to start operations immediately.
Discouraging load factor was one of the reasons why the carrier decided to switch to smaller aircarft. With the Airbus A319, load factor is currently 47% but will potentially rise to 70% with the Embraer fleet.
To reduce running cost and bring the company closer to its primary markets, the discount airline will also relocate its headquarters from London to Johannesburg starting with the commercial department according to its CEO Nico Bezuidenhout.
The airline last year recorded a USD 22 Million loss and has barely recovered. The loss was blamed on high operational costs and inefficiencies.
The new CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout who is expected to turn around the airlines took over last month from predecessor Ed Winter who quit in controversial circumstances.