The private investment vehicle of easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has raised its shareholding in African budget carrier Fastjet.

EasyGroup Holdings is raising its stake from under 3% to 5.81%.

The option is being taken in lieu of all royalty and consultancy payments due to easyGroup up to the end of the year.

Sir Stelios said: “When we signed the original agreement a year ago, the company had very little other than a vision to start operating a proper low cost airline in Africa.

“Today, some nine months after the first Airbus 319 flight in Tanzania, Fastjet has demonstrated that travellers in Africa will react in exactly the same way as consumers elsewhere, to the availability of low cost fares.

“The roll out of this embryonic operation from Tanzania to the rest of Africa will clearly take both time and more investment. I have faith that the extensive airline experience of Ed Winter and his management team will take the company to the next level.

“There is only one continent on earth where low air fares are not widely available yet. I believe Fastjet is now well placed to capture this final frontier. I will be watching their progress with great interest.”

Fastjet chief executive Ed Winter said: “We are pleased that Stelios has chosen to increase his holding in the company, a testament to his confidence in Fastjet’s success and faith in the low-cost airline model he pioneered.

“Fastjet values its relationship with Stelios as a shareholder and brand licensor, and also for the unparalleled low cost airline experience he brings as a consultant to the company.”