African low-cost carrier, fastjet has revealed a growth of its international flight programme from the Julius Nyerere International Airport base of its Tanzania business in Dar es Salaam. The airline will add additional capacity on routes to Johannesburg, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe and its recently launched service to Lilongwe, Malawi this winter, as well as increasing its domestic offering to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza.
In its month traffic report for July 2015, its busiest month ever, fastjet has confirmed its winter flying programme effective September 2015 through to January 2016. During this period the carrier will boost its three times weekly Dar es Salaam – Johannesburg operation to a daily schedule, while its flight linking Dar es Salaam with both Lusaka and Harare will also operate on a daily basis. The new link to Lilongwe will move from twice weekly to a four times weekly offering.
With fastjet’s current fleet of three aircraft almost fully utilised, this winter growth will be facilitated by the arrival of additional aircraft, supporting the planned expansion of fastjet Tanzania and the start-up of planned new fastjet operations in both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This aircraft is the first of a number that fastjet is planning to add to its fleet this year, with each additional aircraft able to make up to 1,000 more seats per day available to fastjet’s customers. Based on the 75 per cent load factors currently being projected by fastjet, each aircraft in the fleet is expected to carry approximately 275,000 passengers per annum.
A fourth aircraft will arrive later this month, while talks are in place to already add further examples. “I can also confirm that discussions are underway with potential suppliers to deliver our fifth aircraft,” Ed Winter, chief executive officer, fastjet confirmed earlier this summer.
The executive has now confirmed that an agreement has now been reached to introduce a first A319 into the fleet of the new fastjet Zimbabwe business. The company has signed a six-year operating lease with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) and the aircraft will be on its way to Zimbabwe this month in readiness for the final stage of the Air Operator Certificate application which is a demonstration flight for the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
The budget carrier has continued its strong start to the year with its Tanzania business reporting a 36 per cent rise in passenger numbers in July 2015 compared to the same month last year as it carried a record monthly count of 71,763 passengers, around 3,600 more than it carried in its previous record month, April 2015. Over a rolling 12 month period to the end of July 2015, the airline carried 747,348 passengers, up 64 per cent on the previous 12 months.
The increase in passengers has been achieved in part by the commencement of flights to Malawi and additional flights to Mwanza. This has resulted in an aircraft utilisation figure in excess of 12 hours per day at the end of July with a punctuality (arrival earlier than or within 15 minutes of schedule) of 95 per cent. The network growth has, however, meant average loads for the month have slipped by one percentage point to 72 per cent versus July last year.
“We are delighted to be reporting our highest monthly passenger numbers demonstrating the appetite for low-cost aviation in East and Southern Africa,” said Ed Winter.
“The new schedule underlines our commitment to grow the Tanzanian operation, building frequency on our most popular routes, and significant growth across the route network cements our position in the Tanzanian market,” he added.