ONE of Africa’s low-cost airlines, fastjet, will begin plying the Tanzania-Zimbabwe route beginning August as it expands its international route network across the continent.The airline will launch a twice weekly operation from Dar es Salaam to Harare with tickets available for as low as $50 excluding taxes.
The Harare flight becomes the third international route for fastjet which already flies from Tanzania to Zambia and South Africa.
Despite strong commercial and cultural ties between the two cities, there is currently no direct air link between Dar es Salaam and Harare.
The port at Dar es Salaam is used extensively by Zimbabwean traders and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zanzibar to the east of Tanzania are popular tourist destinations. A lot of Zimbabweans are importing second hand vehicles from Japan through the Dar es Salaam port.
“We are delighted to be launching our third international route to Harare. The people of Tanzania and Zimbabwe are crying out for a direct air link between the two countries and today’s news moves us one step closer to becoming the continent’s first truly pan-African carrier,” said fastjet interim executive Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Winter.
“When we began low cost operations 18 months ago, we promised the people of Africa that we would democratise air travel across the continent and we are well on our way to achieving that. We now look forward to offering fastjet’s service of affordable, high-quality air travel to the people of Zimbabwe.”
The Alternative Investment Market (Aim) listed fastjet plc is the holding company of the low-cost airline Fastjet which commenced flight operations in Tanzania in November 2012.
The airline operates a fleet of distinctively branded Airbus A319s .
Fastjet is implementing the low-cost carrier model across Africa and its long-term strategy is to become the continent’s first low-cost, pan-African airline. It is also the holding company of airline Fly540, which operates in Kenya, Ghana and Angola.
“The government of Zimbabwe is delighted that fastjet is expanding its international route network to include Harare and that in doing so is bringing its low-cost, reliable and safe service to the people of Zimbabwe,” Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said.
“Fastjet’s entry into Zimbabwe demonstrates the Ministry of Transport’s on-going commitment to the improvement of our country’s aviation industry and to the development of trade relationships with our neighbours.
“We look forward to continuing our discussions with fastjet regarding the airline’s further expansion in Zimbabwe.”
Fastjet began operating low-cost flights in 2012.
The airline has carried over 635,000 passengers through its domestic network in Tanzania and internationally to Johannesburg and Lusaka.
Officially opening the 9th edition of the Routes Africa Forum 2014 in Victoria Falls on Sunday, Vice President Joice Mujuru urged international airlines to take advantage of the peaceful environment in the country by flying into Zimbabwe.
Some of the airlines currently servicing the local route include Emirates, Kenya Airways, South African Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.