fastjet Confirms South African Route Launch

African low-cost carrier, fastjet, will open reservations this week for its first international flights.  The carrier confirms that tickets for its new Dar es Salaam – Johannesburg will be made available to its facebook 'friends' from July 31, 2013 before being placed on general release the following day, August 1, 2014.  The new service is due to launch on September 27, 2013 and will be flown with an Airbus A319.

"This is a hugely important day for fastjet and the people of Tanzania and we are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in our history.  Despite a number of challenges, fastjet is now able to respond to huge consumer demand and provide an alternative and affordable link between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, having secured all required permissions to do so,” said Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer, fastjet.

Speaking to The HUB during the recent Routes Africa forum in Kampala, Uganda, Richard Bodin, Chief Commercial Officer of fastjet had revealed that overwhelming public support for fastjet's low-cost model in Tanzania had been a contributing factor to it expanding into international markets and its strategy to develop a pan-African network.  He is confident that a change in the competitive landscape will result in fastjet soon being awarded licenses in more African countries, with Lusaka, Zambia; and Entebbe, Uganda set to be added to its flying program in the near future.

"We have been working exceedingly hard to acquire the necessary permissions to operate internationally and we would like to thank the public for their patience and support.  For some time the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route has only been operated by one airline and the lack of competition has created inflated fares,” said Bodin.

fastjet will initially operate the Dar es Salaam – Johannesburg route on a three times weekly schedule but says it intends to increase the frequency of flights in line with market demand.  South African Airways (SAA) currently has a monopoly on the route, a market of around 96,000 bi-directional O&D passengers in 2012. 

"For far too long it has been difficult and prohibitively expensive to fly between these two extraordinary cities.  We expect our lower fares to stimulate a huge increase in the numbers of passengers travelling on this route, as has been the case on our domestic routes in Tanzania,” explained Winter.