15 February 2013

Tanzania: Fastjet Owes TAA Over Sh570 Million in Service Fees

TANZANIA Airports Authority (TAA) has written a letter to Fly540 (T) Ltd (FastJet) demanding payment of 570,668,242/- and 95,360.50 US dollars.

The money is an outstanding debt on landing and parking charges. The letter dated February 12, this year, also requires the airline to provide the authority within three working days a clear position regarding the clearance of the unpaid outstanding debt.

"Kindly note that, if we don't receive any statement from your office within the stated period, Tanzania Airport Authority will opt for other measures to ensure your company pays the outstanding amount," reads the letter signed by Mr Joachim Maambo on behalf of the TAA Director General. According to the TAA, the outstanding debt as at November 2012 amounted to 345,541,732/- and 81,938.50 US dollars.

"É and as at January 31, 2013 the amount is 224,813,040/- which accrued from the invoices drawn from TAA headquarters and 313,470/- and 13,422.00 US dollars accrued from the invoices drawn from the Arusha Airport", the letter reads further. TAA is complaining that the airline has remained silent on the matter despite TAA's reminder letter dated November 9 last year and Tanzania Civil Aviation Aviation Authority (TCAA) letter dated November 15 last year.

"Take note that, todate we've not received any letter from you providing us with your company's position regarding our claims on the unpaid outstanding debt as you were required to do so by TCAA vide their letter in reference," the letter stresses. Efforts to get comments from the airline management proved futile by press time.

Controversy has surrounded the operations of the airline since its commencement last year. However, the FastJet's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ed Winter, last week told this newspaper in telephone interview from London that allegations levelled against the airline are false.

In June last year, UK's listed FastJet which was formerly known as Rubicon Diversified Investments Plc, acquired Lonrho Aviation and thus gaining control of assets and liabilities of the company in Tanzania, Angola, Kenya and Ghana. The new company re-branded in Tanzania from Fly540 to FastJet Tanzania in November, last year but it continued using Fly540 brand in Angola and Ghana.

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