VENTURES AFRICA – Airline under liquidation 1time may yet be saved by new market entrant Fastjet which is currently negotiating the last-minute acquisition of the failed carrier.
Provisional liquidators of 1time, Tshwane Trust, are to make an application to the master of the high court in Pretoria for a stay of 1time’s return day which would have seen the company placed under final liquidation, according to Business Day.
“I have spoken with our attorneys and we are making an application for a postponement of the return date to… February,” Aviwe Ndyamara 1time’s provisional liquidator has revealed, going on to explain the benefit that: “This will keep the licences intact while we are still in negotiations with Fastjet.”
Fastjet entered discussions with a view to acquiring 1time last week, with the newly launched airline hoping to pay a nominal fee for the South-African company, speeding up its pan-African expansion aspirations.
“We are confident we will get some sort of resolution soon,” Ndyamara commented on the on-going negotiations.
Having launched its commercial air transport service at the end of November flying out of the company’s Dar-es-Salaam base, Fastjet hopes to conquer the African transport market by offering low-cost flights intended to undercut even long-distance buses.
The company – under the steering of ex-managers of low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Go, FlyBe and Ryanair – hopes to see rapid uptake on the continent, and is already planning cross-continental expansion including a second hub in Nairobi, Kenya, with the current acquisition meant to secure a South African base for the company.
1time owes its creditors 450 million Rand ($51.7 million), as high fuel prices and tax increases have put pressure on airlines, coupled with an insufficient passenger uptake over the recent period. The company was forced to file for liquidation in October of this year, unable to come up with rescue strategies to win more time with its creditors.