African budget carrier Fastjet, already under substantial financial pressure, is having to cope with the additional burden of the coronavirus outbreak after the South African and Zimbabwean governments imposed travel restrictions.
Fastjet Group, which has been working to sell its Zimbabwean arm, says the South African government is locking down the country from 26 March to 16 April, while Zimbabwe is banning all non-essential travel as part of its measures to contain the outbreak.
The company is suspending all Zimbabwe flight operations for three weeks from 27 March.
It adds that its FedAir operation is experiencing “significant deferrals” of current bookings to late 2020, away from the typical peak seasons around the Easter and summer holiday periods.
Fastjet Group has not indicated the potential financial impact of the Zimbabwean suspension or the adjustments to the booking pattern, or the effect on its intended divestment of the Zimbabwean division
It states that it had cash reserves of $2.2 million, including $200,000 unrestricted in Zimbabwe, at 23 March, a figure unchanged since 11 March.
Fastjet Group had planned to meet the conditions for the Zimbabwean sale this month, and complete the divestment, to an investor consortium, in April, but had also warned that its cash reserves and forecasts remained “very sensitive” to any significant downturn in its business.