fastjet Tanzania Celebrates Second Anniversary

Two years can be an eternity for a startup airline and there are examples in East Africa that some did not survive the first two months of operations before folding again. The same cannot be said for Fastjet, Tanzania which celebrating its second birthday.

The airline’s first flight on November 29, 2012 from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza began the company’s operations.

Since then, the airline has expanded its network with the introduction of its third domestic route to Mbeya in Tanzania, and launched its international route network with flights from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, Harare in Zimbabwe and Entebbe in Uganda.

However, the airline’s average booked seats sits at a low 70 percent, and on time performances are in the low 90’s. This highlights some of the challenges carriers in Africa must face, and the difficulty of turning start-up losses into sustained profitability.

Fastjet has carried nearly 900,000 passengers since its maiden flight two years ago on its Airbus A319, and were it not for regulatory challenges, it could well have reached the 1 million passenger mark in time for its second birthday.

Ed Winter, the CEO of Fastjet PLC said: “Affordable air travel is key to the growth of economies across Africa – particularly in the business and tourism sectors. It is expensive and time-consuming to build roads to connect cities, and it is inconvenient for people to travel over land. Even if there are existing airlines connecting two cities, the flights typically involve at least one stopover.”

To give passengers a birthday treat, Fastjet will hold a one day special sale on December 3, 2014.

“We believe that there is great potential for the low-cost carrier model in Africa, and we are committed to working with governments across the continent to promote the benefits of competition in the aviation sector, that will in turn lead to better fares for passengers,” Ed Winter added.

Key objectives for the third year of operations will be the establishment of Fastjet Zambia where the company has recently obtained the initial regulatory approvals and licenses and is now working towards attaining their Air Operator Certificate.

Other objectives for the airline’s third year will be the operation of fifth freedom rights given to them by the Ugandan CAA for flights, from Entebbe to Juba, Kigali, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

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