Fastjet (FN, Dar es Salaam) will transition to an Embraer Regional Jet fleet during the last quarter of the year parent firm fastjet plc has said in an FY16 earnings report.

The firm said its Tanzanian budget carrier unit's only remaining active Airbus jet, an A319-100, will be returned to lessor ICBC Financial Leasing by late September of this year by which time a pair of E190s will be inducted into service in early October.

Along with a pair E145s wet-leased from equity partner Solenta Aviation (SET, Lanseria) and in service for Fastjet Zimbabwe (FN, Harare Int'l), Fastjet's fleet will consist entirely of Embraer aircraft.

fastjet said that following a reassessment of its capacity requirements last year, it concluded that an alternative and smaller aircraft type, with materially lower operating costs, was more appropriate for the current- and medium-term demand characteristics of the markets in which it operates.

"The Embraer and Bombardier 80-120 seat jet aircraft were considered and the Embraer E190/E195 was identified as the most appropriate for fastjet's requirements," it said. "Compared with the Airbus A319 type aircraft that fastjet has been operating, the Embraer is expected to yield a cost reduction of approximately 15% with lower fuel, maintenance, handling and navigation costs and charges."

A maiden aircraft of the type - EMB-190 LZ-BUR msn (19000551) - was wet-leased from Bulgaria Air (FB, Sofia) late last year on a short-term contract to cover the airline's thinner Tanzanian routes.

fastjet's Tanzanian unit currently serves Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, and Mwanza domestically and Harare Int'l, Lusaka, and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo regionally. Its Zimbabwean unit current connects Harare Int'l with Victoria Falls and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo.