fastjet to Boost Zambian Frequencies to Meet Strong Demand

African low-cost carrier fastjet has revealed it will increase capacity on its new route between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lusaka in Zambia to meet strong customer demand, and has predicted it would further grow frequencies to a daily service on the route in the future.

The airline only launched the route, its second outside Tanzania, on February 3, 2014 although it had said at that time that it hoped to be able to increase capacity on the route in the future.  It started with a twice-a-week service and will now add a third rotation each Tuesday from April 15, 2014 after experiencing high load factors on the route including several full flights.

"Our research suggested that this was going to be a successful route with high demand but initial passenger numbers and interest have exceeded expectations.  We expect to add still more capacity on this route - our target is to operate daily," said Richard Bodin, chief commercial officer, fastjet.

The establishment of the Lusaka - Dar es Salaam route is expected to boost the growing trade relationships between the neighbouring countries, making it easier for entrepreneurs, tourists and other visitors to travel between them, at an affordable cost.

This is just the first stage of the carrier’s planned growth in Zambia and it continues to work to set up a domiciled operation at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.  The airline said these plans are “progressing” and it is now incorporating a company in the country and has started the process of getting an air operating certificate.  Potential destinations being discussed include Ndola and Livingstone (both in Zambia) and Johannesburg.

"The business and political environments in Zambia are very progressive and our discussions to date have been very positive. The aim of our operation would be to promote trade and tourism, to increase and improve on safety and reliability within the Zambian aviation industry, and to create employment opportunities," said Ed Winter, interim chairman and chief executive officer, fastjet.

Meanwhile, fastjet continues to strengthen its operations in Tanzania.  The airline carried a total of 31,241 passengers and achieved a load factor of 60 per cent in January 2014 with the average yield per passenger increasing to $88, compared to $46 in January 2013.

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