By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
African budget airline Fastjet said starting next month it will increase the frequency of its weekly domestic and international flights between its popular routes in Tanzania’s capital city and other cities and Zambia to meet demand.
The plan is in line with the company’s growth strategy to build up its domestic base in Tanzania and expand its pan-African reach beyond the region within the next four years.
Speaking about the details of the plan, the pan-African low-cost airline said in a statement that it will add four return flights per week, operating on Sundays, Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, to its Dar es Salaam-to-Mwanza route, bringing the total to 25 flights per week to give its passengers more flexibility.
On its international route between Dar es Salaam to Lusaka, Zambia, Fastjet will add one additional flight to increase the weekly flights to four.
Dar es Salaam is the locus of the country’s economic center and holds the government administration seat and it’s home to Fastjet’s fastest-growing domestic routes linking the city to several other domestic and international routes.
Flights are scheduled to begin on the Dar es Salaam and Mwanza route on Aug. 1 and Dar es Salaam to Lusaka from mid-August.
The company, which uses modern single-class Airbus jet aircraft on its flights, also said its first flight linking the city to Harare, Zimbabwe is now scheduled to take off Aug. 5 instead of Aug. 2 as previously announced.
Last month, the airline reported its year-end 2013 revenue rose by 154 percent to $53.4 million from $21.0 million, of which $26.0 million is attributed to Tanzania.
Speaking on the company’s flight route expansions, Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Winter said the increase in frequencies show the company’s commitment to its “stated objective of maximizing the use of our resources, particularly our aircraft, which allows us to more efficiently manage our fixed costs and overheads.”
“Sales on our newest route have far surpassed expectations and only a handful of seats remain for travel to Tanzania from Zimbabwe in August, with this trend continuing well into September bookings. We hope to meet this demand by adding additional flights on this route in due course,” said Winter.
Fares on the company’s routes range between $20 and $200, plus taxes.
The London-listed company is part of a handful, but rapidly growing number of budget airlines that have spurred up across the continent within the last decade, trying to meet passengers’ increased demand for flexible transports due to rise in population mobility and business activities across African cities.
As a consequence of strict aviation regulation imposed by several African countries, growth for many of these budget airlines has been stymied or limited. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry leader, called recently on African governments to deregulate air services and transnational competition in the African aviation industry to help expedite the path to an integrated Africa.
According to IATA, implementing the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, which supports the growth of the industry, will not only help liberalize African skies, implement global standards in safety, security, and regulations, reduce high charges, taxes and fees and remove visa requirements for ease of movement across the continent, it will provide an extra 155,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in annual GDP.
Fastjet, which began operating its fleets in Tanzania in November 2012, also operates in Kenya, Ghana and Angola, and successfully raised $24.8 million in April to finance its expansion plans.
Copyright © 2014 ImeK Media, LLC. All rights reserved.