Flyafrica in maiden Zim flight

HARARE - Budget airline Flyafrica is expected to make its maiden Johannesburg to Harare flight today, in a development that is expected to see air travelling becoming affordable for most Zimbabweans.

Mati Karase, the carrier’s country manager, said flying is widely perceived “as a preserve for the affluent” in Zimbabwe and low cost airlines will “demystify” that.

“For that sort of flight, one shouldn’t pay in excess of $300 on a return ticket. We bring low-cost flying to the industry,” he said.

In August, Flyafrica introduced flights between the Victoria Falls resort town and Johannesburg, charging fares between $50 and $70, excluding taxes – way below South African and British airways that service the route.

The airline is a partnership between Fresh Air and Mike Bond of the now defunct One Time of South Africa.

It currently operates a 120-Boeing 737-5000 and is one of the few airlines currently landing in Zimbabwe. This comes as three months ago, Fastjet — a London Stock Exchange-listed low-cost airline — made its maiden flight to Harare from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The airline services the route twice weekly with one way  tickets available from as low as $50 — (excluding government charges and taxes) and approximately $114 including government taxes, significantly cheaper than fares from operators offering non-direct flights between the two cities.

In October, fastjet’s chief executive and interim chairperson Ed Winter said Dar es Salaam-Harare flights were performing very well.

He said although the route — including others to Lusaka and Entebbe from Dar es Salaam — is in its infancy, “there is every indication that these will develop into valuable routes for the fastjet Tanzania pan-African network.”

“Additional services from our Tanzanian base in Dar es Salaam to

Lusaka, Harare and Entebbe, linking these land-locked countries to the port of Dar es Salaam, have proven successful and are performing well,” he said.

Meanwhile, industry experts, say the coming in of budget airlines might hamper the revival of national carrier Air Zimbabwe, which is battling to regain market share locally and in the region.

Saddled with debt of more than $100 million, Air Zimbabwe has in recent years been facing severe operational problems that have seen it stop and start its operations.

Several regional and international airlines such as Emirates and Air Namibia have made a return to Harare after leaving the country due to concerns of a deteriorating economic and political environment.


 

Comments (4)

this is a welcome development if it were to be sustainable. intra african countries travel has been very expensive. well done flyafrica.

taura chokwadi - 3 November 2014

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 4 November 2014

Air lines tickets cost more on taxes and levies. The $300 being charged still is much compared to the salary levels of many Zimbabweans with the bulk being civil servants. When will a civil servant ever dream of boarding a plane when the salary is way below the price of one ticket. However its a good development

annanian - 4 November 2014

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