Fastjet is hopeful of starting domestic operations in Nigeria in the first or second quarter of next year.

Airline chief executive Ed Winter says a planned joint venture with Nigeria's Red 1 Airways to create a new low-cost carrier in the west African country is still on hold while its Red 1 Airways waits for an aircraft operator certificate (AOC) from the government.

"We are really waiting on our colleagues at Red 1 to move forward, but we have had quite a lot of dialogue with them and with the [Nigerian] government,” Winter says.

The Fastjet boss says the launch of domestic services in South Africa, which were delayed so the airline could focus on beginning international services into the country, remains a priority and adds that access to the South Africa market is crucial to the success of the airline’s business model.