A new name will appear in the Southern African market from next month as the first of flyafrica’s low-cost airline businesses launches operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe operation will commence flights from July 16, 2014 initially offering a three times weekly offering on the Victoria Falls – Johannesburg.
Speaking to The HUB Daily on the sidelines of this year’s Routes Africa forum in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mati Karase, country manager for Zimbabwe, confirmed the carrier has already seen a great response to its low-fare proposition since bookings were opened last week with its inaugural flight and another early rotation already fully booked.
“We have seen a great response to our arrival. We have around 90 per cent of seats sold for our first four rotations,” he said. “We hope this isn’t simply a reaction to our launch and we can sustain this level through our early operations.”
The start-up will initially focus on this single route for an eight to ten week period while it trains additional crews before introducing a second aircraft from the end of September or early October. Zimbabwe flyafrica has yet to confirm its growth plans although it is likely to add domestic flights within Zimbabwe linking Victoria Falls to the capital, Harare as well as linking the two markets with other international destinations such as Lusaka, Zambia and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The flyafrica operation in Zimbabwe is a joint venture between the local infrastructure company nu.com and the wider private equity aviation investment group, flyafrica Ltd which is expected to open up four country bases across Africa as it develops a pan-African aviation network. These will operate with a fleet of Classic Boeing 737 equipment, the Zimbabwe business having already taken delivery of its first 737-500, one of five of the type purchased from Czech Airlines.
"Zimbabwe flyafrica is the first of several airlines in Africa that will combine low-fares with global standards of safety and quality," Prof Chakanyuka Karase, chairman of the operation and the father of country manager Mati Karase, told The HUB Daily. "Zimbabwe flyafrica is part of the flyafrica.com family and we are committed to providing fares that are always affordable to everyone who travels to Zimbabwe. We believe that low fares are vital in developing trade and tourism for Zimbabwe and we are proud to be part of the low fare revolution."
The airline is currently recruiting flight and cabin crew which will complete an intensive period of training ahead of next month’s launch. “Our aim is to have Zimbabwean crew on our aircraft. We are after all a Zimbabwean business,” said Karase Junior.
You can view our EXCLUSIVE video interview with Mati Karase from Routes Africa, below:
Zimbabwe flyafrica prepares for July 2014 launch