Fastjet given until October to finalise 1time takeover

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Fastjet has been given seven more months to finalise its proposed takeover of South Africa's 1time Airline, which ceased operations in November 2012.

The Stelios Haji-Ioannou-backed carrier now has until October 2013 to reach an agreement, following an extension by 1time's court-appointed liquidators, Tshwane Trust.

A spokesperson for the London-listed airline says that the company is "determined to bring the Fastjet product to the South Africa market".

Fastjet's attempted takeover of 1time has encountered difficulties due to South Africa's 25% cap on foreign ownership of domestic carriers.

"Ninety percent of the negotiations [with 1time's creditors] are squared, and it purely comes down to this one issue of foreign ownership restrictions," operations director Rob Bishton told Flightglobal in January.

The South African government has discretionary powers to raise the 25% ceiling if it is in the national interest to do so, he added.

At least three South African carriers have also lobbied against the acquisition, arguing that Fastjet's foreign air operator's certificates would enable it to bypass standard bilateral route licence applications.

Separately, Fastjet's planned entry to Kenya has been disrupted by a legal row with affiliate Fly540, prompting it to sign an MOU with defunct Kenyan operator Jetlink Express in January.