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Business Home > Nation
Emirates eyes African market through FastJet

(Bloomberg) / 6 December 2012

FRANKFURT — Emirates, the world’s largest airline by international traffic, is in talks with low-cost startup FastJet about starting a partnership to help it win a bigger share of the African market.

“The talks are at “an early stage,” FastJet chief executive officer Ed Winter said in a statement on Wednesday.

Emirates added to its partnerships in September by tying up with Qantas Airways Limited.

FastJet, which aims to become Africa’s first pan-continental discount airline, began flying from Tanzania last week and plans to extend services to neighbouring Uganda this month and to Kenya in the first quarter.

“We are willing to work with FastJet,” Jean-Luc Grillet, head of commercial operations for Africa at Emirates, said in a statement.

“It is an independent carrier and that makes our work easy.”

Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ sales chief, said in November the airline sees no need to follow Arabian Gulf competitors in establishing links that could lead to membership of one of the industry’s three global groupings.

FastJet shares climbed 2.7 per cent to 3.75 pence as of 10:11am in London. FastJet, based in London, is backed by Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who founded the UK’s biggest discount airline Easyjet, and wants a fleet of as many as 40 aircraft within five years. It planned to have three leased A319s this month.

Set to overtake Lufthansa

Meanwhile, Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Emirates airline is poised to overtake the German carrier as the world’s biggest cargo-carrying passenger airline in 2013.

Lufthansa has been losing market share in air freight as the worldwide trade has declined, Andreas Otto, cargo division’s sales chief, told journalists in Frankfurt.

“Emirates, from a cargo perspective, will from next year be No. 1 in the world,” Otto said. “In terms of tonnage carried and capacity offered, they will be No. 1.”

Global air-freight traffic fell 2.5 per cent in the first 10 months of 2012 as trade from Asia to Europe slowed, according to the International Air Transport Association industry body. Nine-month revenue at the Lufthansa Cargo division slipped 9.7 per cent from a year earlier to €2 billion, with operating profit falling 62 per cent to €66 million, exacerbated by a night-flight ban at Frankfurt airport that curbs freighter services.



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