Confidence over bid for 1time
Durban - Liquidators of 1time Airline are confident that a resolution will soon be reached following the proposal by low-cost African airline Fastjet to buy the provisionally liquidated airline, and will today apply for postponement of the final liquidation.
Fastjet, a subsidiary of London-based company Lonrho, confirmed last week that it was negotiating to buy the airline and reach a settlement with its creditors.
Its chief executive officer, Ed Winter, said he hoped the proposal would be accepted and that the airline could be flying again by Christmas.
But it is not yet certain whether that timeline is conceivable as liquidator Aviwe Ndyamara could not be drawn on giving details of the negotiations. He was only able to say that he was “confident” that “some sort of resolution” would be reached “soon”.
“The return date [for the possible final liquidation] is December 11 [today], so we will be applying to have that postponed until some time in February while we are still in negotiations, and also to keep the operating licences.”
However, when asked hypothetically whether Fastjet’s aim of getting 1time back in the air by Christmas was attainable in the event the sale was successful, Ndyamara said only:
“Under the circumstances – being the time of year and also the number of creditors – our time frames are stringent. We are applying for a postponement of the final order until February, and whatever happens with the proposal, we should definitely have a resolution by then.”
Shortly after Fastjet confirmed its proposal to buy 1time, it also announced it was in talks with Emirates airline about a potential partnership.
Its first week of commercial operations in Tanzania earlier this month saw it with an average load factor of 85 percent.
More than 18 000 tickets had been sold on its initial Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kilimanjaro routes, and bookings had been made for as far in advance as March.
Winter said the acquisition of 1time would be a complementary strategic fit for Fastjet’s growth into a pan-African low-cost carrier, and that the synergies with Fastjet would potentially increase the number of available route networks.
He said 1time would be rebranded as Fastjet and sold through fastjet.com. The airline hoped to keep many of the original 1time staff. - The Mercury