African low-cost carrier fastjet is confident it will be able to launch the international operations of a Zambian-registered fastjet entity before the end of this year, its chief commercial officer, Richard Bodin told The HUB during an interview at this year’s Routes Africa forum in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Zambia is one of four African countries where fastjet is currently working on establishing local businesses to support a pan-African vision.
The Tanzanian carrier inaugurated flights into Zambia in February this year with twice weekly services between its base at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport and Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and has already introduced a third weekly rotation, with more flights expected to follow.
“We are working hard to establish our next base, which will be in Zambia. Our target is to be fully operational and carrying passengers on a Zambian-based airline by the end of this year,” said Bodin. “Once we get our air service permit we will be able to fly domestically in Zambia, but the real prize is getting our Air Operators Certificate and we would hope to have that well before the end of this year so we can start operating internationally from Zambia.”
The executives praises the Zambian authorities on how they have worked with fastjet over the past year as the carrier has worked to enhance connectivity into the southern African country, but notes that not all states have been as accommodating to the planned arrival of fastjet.
“Some have welcomed us with open arms and have approached us rather than us approaching them and Zambia is a great example of a very welcoming organization,” said Bodin. “There are other destinations where we are very keen to fly who are treating us very differently, perhaps to protect their existing carriers or who don’t necessarily see the benefit of allowing fastjet to fly.”
According to Bodin these destinations are using “tactics” to delay the inevitable approval of the legislative processes for approval of flights under bilateral air service agreements. “We will get there. It’s just a question of bringing people along on the journey with us,” he added.
You can see our full video interview with Richard Bodin, below.