Fastjet flies into turbulence over threat to its operating licence

Turbulence has hit Fastjet, the African budget airline backed by easyJet's founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, as a legal dispute saw the owner of its Kenyan business threaten to take away its licence.

Fastjet's Africa operations license the Fly540 brand from Five Forty Aviation, majority-owned by Don Smith. But Five Forty claims Fastjet has not filed safety reports recently, and alleges Fastjet owes it £5m.Fastjet said it takes safety very seriously, adding that "Fly540 is powerless to withdraw air operating licences between governments and individual entities".

It said it would sue for "unsubstantiated claims … should he not cease and desist".