Fastjet has announce Nico Bezuidenhout, whoo has just resign from Mango, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company. London-listed Fastjet and Mango, a unit of South African Airways (SAA), are part of a wave of low-priced airlines expanding operations in Africa as they seek to capture middle-income travellers who are exhausted of unsafe road journeys but cannot afford major global carriers.
Nico Bezuidenhout, who joins Fastjet on August 1, will be filling a position that was vacant for almost three months after the previous CEO resigned due to pressure from the company’s second-largest shareholder.
During his tenure, Nico grew the airline’s market share to 25 per cent of the South African domestic air travel market and the fleet to ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The pan-African airline warned in March that its full-year earnings would miss expectations with low demand and cash flow. Bezuidenhout joins FastJet with high expectations as the company has ambitions to become the first low-priced pan-African airline.
“This experience, together with his detailed knowledge of the markets in which fastjet operates, will be invaluable to the Company as it seeks to capture the growth opportunities in the region”. “I am very pleased to be doing fastjet at this stage in its development”, he said. Bezuidenhout adding that while conditions were challenging, he was confident he could build on fastjet’s current operational base.
Fastjet, which operates mainly out of Tanzania at the moment, made an operating loss of $37.9-million a year ago, although this was an improvement over its loss of $43.9-million in 2014. The stock has dropped 62 percent this year. Fastjet launched flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe earlier this year. Legacy operations Fly 540 Ghana and Fly 540 Angola were shut down and route network rationalisation was begun.