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MIND YOUR LANGUAGE: Fast Jet reaffirms commitment to return to Tanzania’s skies after ‘seizing’ operations six months ago

SIR Richard Brunson, the billionaire owner of many businesses including V irgin Airlines, was once asked to share the secret of becoming a millionaire.

His reply was: “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.” This means that airline business is highly risky and can demote an entrepreneur from being ranked among billionaires to millionaires. Yet, there are those who are still committed to seeing dollars burn as they fly.

Low cost carrier, Fast Jet, may be among those. In December 2018 it was suspended amid operational turbulence. But it is fighting to come back, as is reported in this news item titled: “Fast Jet Clears Sh 7bn debt to return to the skies” (Good Citizen on Saturday 29 June, p. 5).

According to the news item’s writer: “ The move further ‘reaffirm’ the commitment of the once low cost carrier to return to Tanzania’s skies after ‘seizing’ operations six months ago over alleged cancellation of ‘trips’ and a huge debt accumulation”. In November, 2012, Fast Jet seized an opportunity to launch low cost airline services in Tanzania.

In December last year (2018), it ceased (not ‘seized’) operations, since the going was getting tough.

“ Cease” and “seize” are two verbs that have the same sound in pronunciation, but different in meanings. To cease means to stop; while to seize means to grab (eg an opportunity) Words such as “cease” and “seize” are called “homophones”. They sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings.

They are to be differentiated from “homographs”, which are words that may have the same spelling, but have different meanings, and may have different pronunciations. For example, “does” are female deer, and “does” is a verb form of the word “to do.”

Same spelling, different pronunciations. We need to make a few more corrections on the writer’s language in the paragraph quoted above. One is that Fast Jet’s move (to pay its debts) ‘reaffirms’ (not ‘reaffirm’) its commitment to flying again.

Two is that the writer’s observation that one reason that led to the suspension of the Airline’s licence, was “alleged cancellation of ‘trips’”, is q uestionable. What airlines cancel or reschedule are usually, “flights”. I would hesitate to call these “trips”.

The sentence could be rewritten as follows: “The move further ‘reaffirms’ the commitment of the once low cost carrier, to return to Tanzania’s skies after ‘ceasing’ operations six months ago, over alleged cancellation of ‘flights’, and mounting debts”.

It is further reported that Fast Jet’s recent application to the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCCA) for a new licence was turned down, apparently because the submission was late. So, is that the end, for Fast Jet? Apparently not for, according to the writer, “TCCA will sit in November to consider Fast Jet’s application to resume operations”.

The last sentence above, however, is not true, if what is reported as having been said by a senior TCCA official is to go by: “Fast jet submitted a business plan before ‘a’ board meeting.

As it stands, we were not able to work on their application, so, they will have to wait until the next licensing meeting, in November. This means: “Fast Jet’s application to resume operations will be considered at the next TCCA’s Board Meeting in November”.

The Board will meet to receive, deliberate and decide on several regular and special matters, not to just to consider Fast Jet’s application, as the writer asserts.

There are those who want to see Fast Jet back in the skies as soon as possible, in order to increase competition since: “ While it was possible for one to travel for as ‘less’ as Sh 80,000 on Fast Jet, for a return ticket, the average price for a one way ticket by the rivals on popular routes, averages Sh 250,000”.

Yes, you could travel for “as low as” ( not “as less as”) Sh 80,000 on Fast Jet for a return ticket … …..”. Will that happen any time soon?

We can only hope so, wait, and see!

lusuggakironde@gmail.com

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Author: LUSUGA KIRONDE

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