Airline calls press conference
FastJet responds to debt and other allegations
(eTN) - Information was received from a source in Dar es Salaam who attended a press conference yesterday called by FastJet at short notice.
Airline executives refuted claims that they were not paying their dues to TCAA or TRA but tried to explain that, while they acquired Fly540 Tanzania last year, the debts owed back then by Fly 540 should be paid by the initial owners and not themselves. The amount owed to TRA, described as a “historical debt” was given as over 3 billion Tanzania shillings although no explanation was reportedly offered as to why the due diligence at the time of negotiating the purchase had not eliminated such old debts prior to acquiring Fly 540 Tanzania or else provided for an iron clad contract. The latter now appears to be full of legal holes and trap doors, enabling Fly 540 in Kenya to sue FastJet and categorically deny that those old debts remained with them but claim it is the sole and entire responsibility of FastJet to now settle those outstanding amounts.
It is also not clear which impact the written notice by Fly 540 had in Kenya to halt the use of permits, licenses, and other agreed usage, like flying the orange aircraft still painted in livery of Fly 540 in West Africa, on the operation in East Africa, nor was it made clear, according to the source, what impact the reported demand by the leasing company had which demanded the deregistration of planes as a result of overdue payments.
Other issues reportedly raised centered around the conditions of the AOC, which require accountable managers to be resident in Tanzania, and in response the airline officials confirmed that both the airline CEO and the COO (Chief Operating Officer) were indeed based in London and not in Dar es Salaam.
The airline used the opportunity, when trying to clarify on the ton of rumors flying the FastJet colors, to announce they would at some point in the future also commence selling tickets for the sector Kilimanjaro-Mwanza and start flights to Zanzibar.