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Fastjet secures Zim licence

Oct 07 2015 11:42
Memory Mataranyika
Harare - Africa-focused budget airline fastjet has secured an airline operator licence in Zimbabwe, with the country’s civil aviation authority giving it the nod for domestic and international flights into and out of the country.
 
Fastjet is now eyeing Zambia, where it is already awaiting licence finalisation. The licensing of the Zimbabwean operation means that Fastjet now has two African countries from which it is allowed to operate.
 
Tickets for the Harare/Victoria Falls route will go on sale on Wednesday and will cost US$20 for a one-way ticket, excluding taxes and fees. Fastjet will initially fly three times a week to the tourism resort town. The other operator on that route is state-owned Air Zimbabwe.
 
“Adding a second fastjet airline to our network is an incredibly significant milestone on our path to becoming the most successful pan-African low-cost airline,” fastjet chief executive officer Ed Winter said on Wednesday.
 
The company recently said it is trialing Zimbabwean domestic flights after the aircraft for use in Zimbabwe landed at Harare international airport. This brought the number of aircraft flying on its routes to about six.
 
Its Tanzanian operations – from where the airline flies to Malawi and other regional and domestic destinations - have seen a spike in the number of seats booked. The company is gearing up to build Africa’s first integrated budget airline which will link major cities on the continent.
 
Winter said the company has built up the Tanzanian operation into the airline of choice, riding on a good operational reputation as well as low fares that allow more people to fly instead of taking the bus. He said he is confident that, with a proven low-cost model, fastjet can replicate this success in Zimbabwe.
 
Fastjet said on Wednesday that the licensing process in Zimbabwe “involved an in-depth review of fastjet Zimbabwe’s safety management system, operational manuals and structures, its senior staff, its fleet, maintenance facilities and technical capability”.
 
Following the granting of the licence, government has designated fastjet Zimbabwe as a Zimbabwean airline “on international routes to a number of East and southern African countries”.
 
Fastjet is hoping to capitalise on potential growth of first-time flyers in Africa through its strategy of lowering fares to raise competition against bus operators.
 
Most African countries are also looking to open up their skies to allow new private investors as state airlines across the continent continue to lose money, a situation blamed on poor efficiencies, bloated workforces and government bureaucracy.

fastjet  |  zimbabwe  |  airlines
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