The boss of African low-cost carrier Fastjet is to step down with no replacement currently in place.

Headhunters will be appointed to search for a new chief executive following the decision by Ed Winter to leave.

He will remain in the post until a new chief executive is appointed and stay on in an advisory capacity for an agreed period of time to assist with the handover of responsibilities and ensure an orderly transition, the airline said.

Winter said: “Following four intensive years of work and overseas travel, I am looking forward to spending more time on my other personal and professional interests.

“Once the handover process is complete, I look forward to watching Fastjet’s continued progress.”

The airline’s chairman, Colin Child, said: “Over the past four years, Ed has made significant and sustained progress towards Fastjet’s goal of becoming Africa’s first true low-cost pan-African airline.

“Despite being confronted with numerous challenges, Ed has succeeded in successfully opening hubs in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, providing multiple domestic services, and has won international rights to fly from Tanzania to South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Malawi.

“Recent approval to operate flights to and within Kenya is also a major step forward in growing the airline’s route network.

“The board is enormously grateful to Ed for his leadership and expertise in launching Fastjet and the pivotal role he has played in Fastjet’s development. He leaves with our very best wishes.”