|Hubs||Jomo Kenyatta International Airport|
|Company slogan||Your Local Airline|
|Key people||Don Smith (CEO)|
Five Forty Aviation Ltd, trading as Fly540, is a low-cost airline which commenced operations in 2006 and is based in Nairobi, Kenya, that operates domestic and international passenger and freight services. The airline had two subsidiary airlines, Fly540 Ghana (suspended in May 2014 and since sold) and Fly540 Angola (suspended in May 2014), but has since focused its business expansion plans on East Africa.
Fly540 started operations between Nairobi and Mombasa on November 24, 2006. The service initially operated twice daily using 48-seat ATR 42 aircraft. The airline's name refers to its price of KSh5,540 per adult return fare between the above-mentioned cities.
In May 2007 the airline introduced two de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft to increase the airline's capacity, allowing it to develop new domestic routes. Passenger numbers rose by 93% to 171,160 in the year ended 30 September 2008, from 88,571 in 2007. At the same time, the load factor amounted to 63%, down from 65.8% in 2007.
The original scheduled flights included freight and passenger services between Nairobi and Mombasa, while Kisumu became a destination in January 2007. Daily flights on the Nairobi-Malindi-Lamu route were added to its domestic services in February 2007.
International operations commenced in October 2007 with flights to Juba in South Sudan and Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;Entebbe in Uganda in February 2008. Additionally Fly540 Tanzania launched direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, on the western shores of Lake Victoria. Initially the company operated 11 flights a week and it was hoped that in time its Fokker 28 aircraft, which carrie 28 people, would be upgraded to a 50-seater CRJ 100.
In June 2012 Fly540 was sold for $85.7 million (Sh7.3 billion) to British investment firm Rubicon Diversified Investments (now Fastjet Plc ), who purchased the airline from Lonrho group. Rubicon said it had chosen to acquire Fly540 as its platform for the launch of a budget airline in Africa, to be modelled on Europe's second largest low-cost carrier EasyJet.
The first flights were transferred to the new airline, Fastjet, from 29 November 2012. These were two domestic routes in Tanzania; it had been expected that all Fly540 flights would quickly be transferred to Fastjet, in turn, as the various arrangements and permissions required for each route are agreed.
Following the acquisition of Lonrho's 49% interest in Five Forty Aviation Kenya Ltd, and a further 49.98% economic interest in the company approved at a Fastjet General meeting on 29 June 2012 and completed on 2 July 2012, it became apparent that the vendor did not consider the additional acquisition had completed. The dispute led to legal claims by both parties over the ownership and other matters. A Memorandum of Understanding was reached on 23 April 2013 where both parties agreed to stop legal proceedings against each other because Fastjet considered they did not have control or significant influence. AS of 1st July 2014, a settlement was agreed between Fastjet and Don smith [CEO] in which Fastjet transferred all shares in Five Forty Aviation Kenya LTD to Don Smith and Fastjet relinquished any further interest in Five Forty Aviation Ltd. The Five Forty brand name is for sole use of Five Forty Aviation Kenya Ltd.
As of February 2016, Fly540 flies to the following destinations.
The Fly540 fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of August 2019):
In January 2008, the company signed a US$150 million contract for eight ATR 72-500s to be delivered in 2008 and 2009. These orders have since been cancelled. In April 2014, Fastjet announced that two ATRs and both DC-9 aircraft were to be withdrawn from service: the ATRs are to be sold, and the DC-9s are to be returned to their lessors.
The airline previously operated the following aircraft (as of August 2017):
Media related to Fly540 at Wikimedia Commons