UPDATE 1-Fastjet suspends flights in Tanzania until the end of January

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DAR ES SALAAM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - African low-cost airline Fastjet has suspended all domestic flights within Tanzania until the end of January after the country’s aviation authorities warned they are likely to revoke its licence, the company said on Monday.

The airline, launched in 2012, has faced tough conditions in Tanzania, its home market, in recent years and warned on Dec. 7 that it may have to go into administration, close down or sell itself because it only had enough cash to keep it in business for a week.

“Fastjet Tanzania would like to inform all customers who booked air tickets for December 2018 and January 2019 that it has suspended its flights for a while due to operational issues,” the airline said in a notice seen by Reuters.

Fastjet operates in Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. All flights to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are unaffected, the company said without indicating what would become of flights to Zambia. On Friday the company said it had met conditions for an open offer and equity refinancing to raise funds.

The airline has been operating flights on several domestic routes in Tanzania connecting the capital Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro in the north and other towns.

All passengers who had bought tickets for the period would have their fares refunded, starting Dec. 20, the notice added.

At a press conference in Dar es Salaam, Hamza Johari, director general of the state-run Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), said it had given Fastjet a 28-day notice to resolve its management problems.

“Fastjet has lost its qualifications to provide airline service. Therefore, TCAA is intending to revoke the company operational certificate,” Johari said.

He said the airline had been directed to submit a plan to revive its business. (Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain; Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman)