FastJet Confirms Dar Es Salaam as Launch Base

New African low-cost start-up FastJet will launch operations this November and will initially operate from a base at Julius Nyerere International Airport, the principal gateway to Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, its management team has confirmed.  The airline had been expected to initially establish activities in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi but it is still awaiting type certification for the Airbus A319 in the country.

"Our initial focus will be on East Africa with the airline's first base at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the A319 aircraft has already been approved by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority,” said Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer, FastJet.  “This will be followed by a second base in Nairobi, Kenya, once the A319 is approved there.  We look forward to bringing a great, reliable and affordable service to the people of East Africa."

The new pan-African low-cost carrier being developed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has been established from a deal by investment business Rubicon Diversified Investments Plc to acquire control of existing African turboprop operator Fly540 from its parent Lonrho Aviation.  The airline announced in early July that it had selected the Airbus A319 to support its operations a deal has now been signed with Babcock Brown Aircraft Management and is scheduled for delivery in October and negotiations on further aircraft deliveries later in the year are underway, according to the start-up.

"The decision to launch FastJet with the Airbus A319 enables us to expand rapidly with each aircraft potentially carrying around 250,000 passengers a year.  Rubicon expects passenger capacity to double from current levels within six months of the introduction of the A319 fleet,” said Ed Winter.  “We plan to add at least five leased Airbus A319 aircraft to the fleet within six months of launch and up to 15 within a year." 

Just this week the airline has confirmed a fleet growth plan of between 30 and 40 aircraft within three years of launch by which time its network would extend to eight countries across Africa.  It also revealed plans “to launch in Accra, Ghana and Luanda and Angola”.

FastJet, like Stelios’ other airline interest, easyJet, will configure its A319s with seating for 156 passengers, made possible by the inclusion of second overwing exits on either side of the aircraft like on larger members of the A320 Family.  The airline says the type was “initially chosen after an extensive evaluation of a wide range of options” and is “ideally suited to the company's expansion plans”. 

The venture says recruitment for crew and ground staff in Dar es Salaam is already “well advanced,” but precise details of its network plans have yet to be announced.  The airline will commence flying in November with seats going on sale online “a few weeks earlier,” according to a spokesman.  Fares will be available for as low as $20 one-way excluding taxes and charges,” he added.

FastJet will likely initially focus on some of the trunk routes previously served by Lonrho’s Fly540 businesses.  Its management team has be been actively engaged in detailed discussions with a number of Governments to lobby for incentives and reduced passenger taxes, factors that will affect its final decision on where to deploy its A319s.

In the table below we highlight the ten largest African O&D markets from Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam during 2011, according to estimated data.

LARGEST AFRICAN AIR TRAFFIC MARKETS FROM DAR ES SALAAM (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2011)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Traffic Share

1

Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International (NBO)

223,626

12.1 %

2

Zanzibar Kisauni (ZNZ)

222,316

12.0 %

3

Mwanza (MWZ)

218,993

11.8 %

4

Kilimanjaro (JRO)

143,186

7.7 %

5

Johannesburg OR Tambo International (JNB)

97,759

5.3 %

6

Mtwara (MYW)

49,846

2.7 %

7

Lusaka (LUN)

37,746

2.0 %

8

Entebbe (EBB)

36,990

2.0 %

9

Addis Ababa (ADD)

28,193

1.5 %

10

Mombasa Moi International (MBA)

16,131

0.9 %

(Others)

777,412

42.0 %

TOTAL

1,850,762

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You can find out more about the development plans of FastJet at World Routes.  The airline's Chief Commercial Officer, Richard Bodin is to provide a Route Exchange briefing on the afternoon of Monday October 1, 2012.  Click here to find out details of all this year's Route Exchange briefings.

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