HARARE - Zimbabwe's low-cost airline, Fastjet, has been granted permission to operate new flights on Harare-Victoria Falls and Harare-Johannesburg routes.
Industry experts say the launch of these popular and currently underserved routes is a significant step forward for the budget airline.
Flights between Harare and Johannesburg will operate daily and flights on the Victoria Falls to Johannesburg route will initially operate three times a week, with fares starting from $80 — plus government taxes — considerably lower than prices offered by carriers currently serving the route.
Tickets go on sale this week, and flights from Harare will commence on February 1, 2016.
Fastjet also has approval for a second daily flight between Harare and Johannesburg — this will be introduced as market demand grows.
“In launching these flights, Fastjet Zimbabwe is establishing itself as a key player in the market, Fastjet Plc chief executive Ed Winter said.
Fastjet expects to receive additional international route approvals in the first quarter of 2016 which, when added to the key Johannesburg routes announced yesterday, will create a substantial market for the local budget airline.
“There is clearly significant demand for affordable travel between Harare and Johannesburg. Up to 100 buses a day travel between the two cities, a journey which can take as long as 24 hours.
“Similarly, the 1 300 kilometres road journey from Johannesburg to the World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls, one of the biggest tourist attractions in southern Africa, can take as long as two days with border crossings. Fastjet flights will take just one hour and forty minutes,” he said.
“As we have seen in other markets, we expect many passengers currently undertaking the journey by bus to switch to flying, taking advantage of fastjet’s low fares and safe and reliable flights.
“There are significant historical, commercial and political links between the two countries, and it is estimated that more than 3 million Zimbabweans now live in South Africa. Fastjet Zimbabwe is now well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities that this market offers,” Winter added.
Fastjet Plc is the holding company of the low-cost airline Fastjet which commenced flights under the Fastjet brand in Tanzania in November 2012.
Fastjet Zimbabwe was successfully launched in October 2015.
By adhering to international standards of safety, quality, security and reliability — Fastjet has brought a new flying experience to the African market at unprecedented low prices.
Utilising its fleet of Airbus A319s, Fastjet is implementing the low-cost model across Africa and its long-term strategy is to become the continent’s first low-cost, pan-African airline.