fastjet and Five Forty Aviation in payment dispute

fastjet and Five Forty Aviation have responded to recent media reports over a dispute about payments made between the two.

The latter has confirmed that it has instructed lawyers to recover what it describes as “an acknowledged debt” of $6.8m from Lonrho Aviation (BVI) Ltd, now operating as fastjet. The debt relates primarily to the financial support given to Fly540 Tanzania as well as branches in Angola, Ghana and elsewhere operated by Lonrho Aviation (BVI). It does not relate to monies owed to individuals or any executive of Five Forty Aviation, says the company.

Five Forty Aviation also states that Lonrho Aviation (BVI) acknowledged this debt in a letter, dated 22 March 2012, to PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd.

fastjet has responded with a statement which says: “Don Smith and his partners have been paid all amounts due to them, a total sum of US$6.75m. Mr Smith certified in a document signed by him on 24 July 2012 that, other than specified liabilities as set out in the document, there is no other liability or indebtedness due to him or any entity controlled by him. There has never been any agreement that Lonrho Aviation would pay Mr Smith a further sum of US$7 million. The purchase of Five Forty Aviation Limited has been fully consummated.”

The statement adds: “The fastjet management remains fully committed to the company’s development and success as it continues to progress towards becoming a pan-African low cost airline. It plans to launch its first international routes shortly and is exploring opportunities with various global carriers and, as already announced, the possible purchase of a South African airline [1Time].”

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