Start-up budget airline Fastjet claims to have made a “significant step” towards starting operations in South Africa.

The carrier has been working to takeover failed South African carrier 1 Time but today said it remains open to other options.

Fastjet said it had filed a letter of intent with the liquidators of 1 Time in Johannesburg to enable a compromise settlement to be negotiated with creditors.

“This is a major step towards the acquisition of 1 Time and the launch of Fastjet flights in South Africa,” the carrier said.

“Whilst 1 Time remains firmly Fastjet’s preferred route, the low-cost carrier continues to explore alternative partnerships to launch Fastjet in South Africa which will be available if a satisfactory compromise cannot be negotiated with the 1 Time creditors.”

Chief executive Ed Winter said: “Fastjet is really excited about the opportunity to serve the South African air travel market and this is a very significant step towards making that a reality.”