I don't have a good feeling about FastJet - not that its a bad company, just it doesn't fit the African business motif.
Their entire management are a bunch of suits from London accustomed to the European way of doing things
, with little experience of the African business environment (especially with regards to dealing with African governments, hence their use of Fly540 as a vehicle to get their foot in the door) and above all, African culture.
While they have hired a couple of so called experts on the African market, there seems to be no indigenous (read Black) management involved.
Yes, race plays a huge role in Africa, more so now than ever. With Europe's economy going nowhere fast, and China offering low interest loans sans political strings attached, African governments are growing more and more touchy about whom they allow to invest in their countries.
In fact that is why LCCs like Fly540 and carriers like Tanzania's Precision Air have been able to make such strong inroads into the continent - they are (were) indigenous companies run by Africans for Africans ultimately benefiting Africans.
Speaking as a white Zimbabwean, i have seen how some European companies, and Europeans, Americans, Australians etc, try dealing with Africa, and fall flat on their faces. They bring in all sorts of "corporate norms" and high expectations and try push governments around - it doesn't work like that in Africa. Above all, they neglect the locals when it comes to managerial positions which then leads to resentment and apathy.
Above all, if the local populace get the perception that all the airline is, is a bunch of Murungus trying to exploit the black populace, e.g trying to charge an old Sekuru huge $$$ for taking his taking his hand luggage on board like O'Leary and his Ryanair do, well, its going to be a pretty short, expensive investment for Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the other fine folks at FastJet PLC.
But I'm sure they've though of all that and have covered all their bases and I for one, certainly hope they can realize the first Pan African LCC.
Chinokanganwa idemo; Chitsiga hachikanganwe. ✈