Jetworx to be sold off as FastJet plans 1time takeover


Former low cost airline 1time’s maintenance wing Jetworx has been sold to an affiliate of the American Industrial Acquisition Corporation (AIAC), while budget carrier FastJet is pursuing the purchase of 1time.

AIAC agreed to purchase Jetworx’s extended shares, trade union Solidarity said this week, adding that employees who would have been retrenched due to the low-cost airway 1time being placed under provisional liquidation could possibly retain their jobs.

Johan Kruger, spokesperson of Solidarity, said that the sales transaction brings hope to Jetworx’s nearly 200 employees who only received part of their salaries the past month. “Before being placed in a process of business rescue in August 2012, Jetworx had already retrenched about 200 of its nearly 400 employees. While Jetworx was in business rescue, retrenchments were stopped for the time being. After 1time was placed under preliminary liquidation, Jetworx was however obliged to consider further retrenchments.”

The company is currently still in business rescue and the new business plan for the company will be announced on 15 January, Solidarity said. This will be followed by a process in which the creditors of the company must vote if they are in favour of the transaction.
“Solidarity expressed the hope that the sale will be completed successfully and Jetworx will be able to retain its employees and prevent further retrenchments. The trade union further hopes that those employees who have already been retrenched could be given the opportunity to rejoin the company,” the trade union said.

AIAC Europe MD Marc Renard-Payen said that his company saw “substantial growth opportunities” for Jetworx in Africa, reports Business Day.

Meanwhile, negotiations are underway for London-listed FastJet to acquire 1time out of provisional liquidation. FastJet on December 19 signed an option to buy 1time with the aim of turning the carrier into a local subsidiary operating between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London.

FastJet would buy 1time for R1, subject to regulatory approval in the United Kingdom and South Africa, in addition to approval by FastJet shareholder Lonrho and 1time Holdings’ shareholders.

If the deal goes ahead, FastJet would take over three of the dozen aircraft in 1time’s fleet but would later replace the ageing McDonnell Douglas aircraft with more modern and efficient Airbus A319s.

Fastjet CEO Ed Winter said the acquisition “supports FastJet’s growth into a pan African low-cost carrier. The synergies with FastJet’s operations will increase the number of available route networks from South Africa into the rest of Africa”.
“Due to protracted negotiations…we very much hope that 1time will be flying again early in the new year,” he said.