Fastjet Zim announces new routes

Business Reporter
fastjet Zimbabwe yesterday announced its newest international routes – from Johannesburg to Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The launch of these routes comes after fastjet received clearance from the Zimbabwean and South African governments to operate flights between the two countries. Return flights from Harare International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport will operate using fastjet’s modern Airbus A319 jet aircraft with seating for up to 144 passengers.

The Johannesburg/Harare route will commence on February 1, 2016, and operate daily with an additional daily flight on this route expected soon, the airline said in a statement.

“When fastjet Zimbabwe’s first flight took off just 12 weeks ago to Victoria Falls from Harare, we promised that we would make air travel more accessible than ever before, and today’s announcement is a further significant step in fulfilling that promise,” said Ed Lanca, director of flight operations at fastjet Zimbabwe.

Supporting this statement is recent research undertaken by fastjet, showing that up to 40 percent of passengers on all routes were first time flyers able to afford air travel for the first time, thanks to fastjet’s low fares.

“The only alternative to flying is to undertake long and uncomfortable journeys by road, which can take up to 20 hours from Harare to Johannesburg. As has been the case with other routes that we’ve launched, we expect many of our passengers to be first time flyers who, because of prohibitively high fares, can’t afford to travel by air,” Lanca said.

“Affordable air travel is key to the growth of Zimbabwean economy, and fastjet has been able to announce these new routes by working closely with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, who understand and value the positive impact that low-cost air travel can have on the lives of our citizens and the general economy.”

Over the course of the next three years, fastjet Zimbabwe expects to invest in the region of $15 million and employ approximately 200 people directly, with hundreds more employed in secondary services such as fuel, catering, and cleaning supporting the airline.

Flights linking Victoria Falls to and from Johannesburg will initially be three times a week on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commencing February3, 2016.

Tickets for flights will be on sale this week, with fastjet advising passengers to book early to take advantage of its lowest priced fares on both routes of R1,340 ($80) one-way. This excludes government and airport taxes (R837 [$50] departing Zimbabwe/R586 [$35] departing South Africa).

Finalised slots and timetables for the flights linking Victoria Falls and Johannesburg are still to be confirmed by the respective airports.

The flights to Harare and Victoria Falls mark the third and fourth international routes for fastjet from South Africa with the airline presently operating to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

fastjet also announced that it expects to receive approval for additional international flights to commence from Zimbabwe to further East and Southern Africa markets within the first quarter of 2016.

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