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FastJet Expands Fleet With Two New Airbuses

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FastJet is on course to hit its target of five Airbuses by November | PA

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's FastJet - the low-cost African Airline - has signed operating lease agreements with Volito Aviation which will see it take on two Airbus A319s in November.

These are the second and third Airbus A319s the company has leased, keeping it on target to meet its target of deploying five Airbus A319s in Africa within six months of launch.

FastJet has also raided European low-cost rivals Ryanair, EasyJet and African airline Air Uganda to expand its executive team; Rob Bishton joins FastJet as operations director from EasyJet, where he spent two years as chief plot and head of aircraft operations, Kyle Haywood, former chief executive of Air Uganda, joins FastJet as general manager of Africa, and former Ryanair executive Harun Cordan assumes the role of group chief pilot and head of flight operations.

FastJet is due to start flying from November 2012, with seats going on sale online a few weeks earlier. Analysts expect the airline to concentrate on the African market, rather than move into Europe, for the immediate future.

Fares will be available for as low as $20 (£12.30) one-way, excluding taxes and charges.

On 3 September, The Huffington Post UK reported FastJet had ordered its first Airbus - a Airbus 319.

Sir Stelios’s easyGroup Holdings owns 5% of FastJet and has the option to acquire another 10% at a price of 5.2p per share until 2 August 2014. Sir Stelios is also a director of the airline.

Airbus forecasts that total passenger traffic in Africa will grow at an average yearly rate of 5.7% between 2010 and 2030, well above the 4.8% world average growth rate.

It also expects Africa to deliver more than 1,100 new passenger aircraft and 4% of world deliveries in the next 20 years to satisfy growing demand.

In addition to expanding its executive team, FastJet announced it had has entered into an exclusive service contract with Swissport International, under which Swissport will provide ground handling and related management services to FastJet across its operations.

Swissport already provides ground services at 195 airports in 38 countries on five continents, and was named Global Aviation Ground Services company 2012.

The airline also awarded a five year contract to Sabena technics to provide maintenance support for the airline’s fleet of Airbus A319s.

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Filed by Charlie Thomas