Fastjet (Dar es Salaam) says its Zambian subsidiary, Fastjet Zambia (Lusaka), has secured its Air Services Licence (ASL) from the country's government. The issuance has been clouded in controversy with claims Zambia's interim president, Guy Scott, had expedited the process.

"Timescales before the first flight will be dependent on the time taken for the authorities to review the AOC application documents. We look forward to going on sale and commencing operations in Zambia once that process has been completed," CEO Edward Winter said.

Zambia will be fastjet's second base with plans to roll out flights to various destinations in East and Southern Africa once all certification has been completed. The Tanzanian budget carrier has also been awarded 5th Freedom Rights by the Ugandan government to operate flights from Uganda to Juba, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta, Kigali, and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo. The Tanzanian LCC said in a statement that it would commence flights once authorities in the relevant countries had given their approvals.

With the recent controversial demise of Air Uganda (Entebbe), Uganda has allocated foreign carriers the much sought after rights with Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International) and RwandAir (WB, Kigali) having benefited as well.

"5th Freedom rights present a fantastic opportunity to increase the Tanzanian network, increasing aircraft utilisation and also establishing the fastjet brand in Uganda without the immediate establishment of a full Ugandan base," Winter added.

The loss-making carrier says it is in talks with a number of potential investors, including industry partners and specialist African investors, with the aim of completing funding talks for its planned Zambian and Ugandan operations by early next year.

In a bid to accelerate its Tanzanian operation's entrance into the African regional market, fastjet plc recently disposed of a 51% stake in fastjet Tanzania to local Tanzanian investors. Initially, these shares will be put into a holding company before being sold to Tanzanian investors, Fastjet said.

Majority local ownership is expected open up new international markets to the airline as per Tanzania's various Bilateral Air Service Agreements.