JULY 10TH, 2015

fastjet figures show it's on upward trajectory

The trajectory is certainly upward for fastjet (LON:FJET), the Africa-focused budget airline, which revealed passenger numbers were ahead 23% year-on-year in its key market of Tanzania.

The airline carried 65,216 people in June compared to 53,232 in the same month last year.

Investors welcomed Friday’s stats report for the month just gone, pushing shares up over 2% to 97p each.

By way of comparison the shares started the year at 0.7p so the surge has been stark.

In June this year, the load factor (how full its planes were) was down 10% during a month that incorporated Ramadan.

Around 35% of Tanzania’s population is Muslim.

Chief executive Ed Winter said: "I am delighted to report another month of strong year on year growth in numbers of passengers carried.

“This is particularly pleasing given the fact that June incorporated Ramadan, a period that reduces demand considerably."

During the period the company also introduced a new route, linking Dar es Salaam with Lilongwe, Malawi, that has seen encouraging early sales.

Winter told investors that plans were are on track to introduce a fourth A319 passenger jet to the fleet, which will be flown to Harare in preparation for the launch of fastjet Zimbabwe, and a letter of intent has been signed for a fifth short-haul Airbus plane.

House broker Sanlam has said it sees the African air travel market growing by at least 5% a year over the medium term.

“Africa represents 15% of the world population, 20% of land mass and only 3% of the world’s aviation market,” the broker noted in May.

It has placed a target price of 291p, with its growth prospects transformed by this year’s £50mln fund-raising.

“fastjet offers a “rare and attractive opportunity” to invest in the growth in the sub-Saharan African air travel market, which is only just getting used to the low-cost carrier (LCC) model.

A combination of rapid economic growth, expanding middle classes and a large population is expected to drive higher propensity to travel by air and greater LCC penetration, the broker asserts.

Sanlam pencilled in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in sales of 82% as fastjet expands its service to up to 40 unique destinations from at least six operating entities over the next three years.