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Fastjet expects to be cash flow positive from operations by 2018

Fastjet reported strong trading in Zimbabwe and Tanzania. (Image source: jEd dC/Flickr)

Low-cost carrier fastjet said it expects to be cash flow positive from operations for the full-year as it cut its fleet size in key markets such as Zimbabwe and Tanzania and an expanded into Mozambique

The airline responded to shareholder calls for board changes and cost cuts over the last few years by removing its chairman and CEO.

Since then, the company has attempted to turn around its business by relocating its headquarters to Johannesburg and cutting its fleet size.

Fastjet reported four consecutive quarters of higher load factor in Zimbabwe, even as the country went through a volatile period with long-time President Robert Mugabe stepping down in November.

Civil aviation in Africa, which suffers from heavy regulation, drives up cost of airline operations and sees intra-continent travellers take circuitous through Europe and the Middle East.

Fastjet said it was seeing load factors of 70 per cent in aggregate in Mozambique and that it would buy three 70-seater aircraft to service low-cost short-haul routes.

"We are excited by the expected entry-into-service of turbo-prop aircraft during June 2018. This aircraft type serves a particular purpose in that certain short-haul routes with shorter runways now become accessible to fastjet, whilst the fuel-efficient nature of the aircraft will stand us in good stead in an environment where fuel prices have shown an upward trend," Nico Bezuidenhout, fastjet CEO said.