FROM THE AIRBUS TO THE EMBRAER?
(Posted 10th September 2016)
Information is now beginning to emerge and details are adding up about the anticipated fleet change by Fastjet to smaller, more economical and easier to fill aircraft in both Tanzania and Zimbabwe, where the carrier is already active – but also for the new offspring in Kenya, which is presently undergoing the mandatory audit for an Air Operator Certificate, in short AOC.
Several sources close to the airline have suggested that most of the presently leased Airbus A319 will be phased out and replaced by Embraer E190’s come November this year.
The recently announced new winter schedule, reported here at the time, now shows seat charts for aircraft used on domestic routes in Tanzania which confirm the E190 all economy layout. From added information sourced it seems that the overall fleet in Tanzania will shrink to just three aircraft, one remaining Airbus A319 for the time being and two leased Embraer E190s. A similar change will happen in Zimbabwe according to added information received where the Airbus A319 will also make way for an Embraer E190.
When the airline confirms these changes, thought to be imminent now that the news are out, will it be the first major change implemented by new CEO Nico Bezuidenhout who set out two major areas for his attention when he accepted the job, one being the relocation of the head-office from London Gatwick to Africa and two a rightsizing of the fleet.
Given the different characteristics between the current and the new aircraft there is also speculation about the future of the cockpit crews of the Airbus A319, if they are being retrained to become type-rated on the Embraer E190 – or whatever other aircraft the airline may decide to introduce – or leave with the birds for deployment elsewhere. The cabin crew size of the A319 is also greater compared to the mandatory deployment of crew in an E190 cabin, again raising questions begging to be answered.
For breaking and regular avation news from the Eastern African region look no further but this space.