(eTN) – The owners of East African Safari Air Express (EASAX), the first victim of the escalating fare war in Kenya, had a soft landing, when – following the initial wet-lease of their DC9 aircraft by Fly 540 – the region’s first low-cost carrier put in an offer to buy EASAX lock, stock, and barrel. The transaction took place late last week, too late for the conventional media to pick it up and report about it.
There are inevitably open questions, like if EASAX will be integrated into the Fly 540 set up, or for the time being operate as a separate airline, but one thing is already clear, that the move triggered intense speculation over the resumption of flights on the EASAX network, especially those to Juba, where Fly 540 is notably absent and to Hargeisa, which EASAX had already commenced again early last week, probably in the knowledge of new owners with deeper pockets coming on board.
This acquisition at first look seems to strengthen Fly 540’s market position, as the market has confidence in them as to their ability to weather intense competition, as witnessed in recent months when in particular Kenya Airways aggressively moved back into the domestic market, for long a domain of Fly 540, Jetlink, and EASAX. However, Fly 540, having survived the first difficult years and now being present across Eastern Africa, is run by financially- and operationally-shrewd individuals who will be watching their bottom lines while undoubtedly taking instant advantage of such opportunities as and when they arise.