African low-cost carrier, fastJet, has this week opened reservations for its return to the Zanzibar market. The resumption of flights from its Tanzanian base at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam will see fastJet again offer the shortest sector daily scheduled service with Airbus A320 Family equipment in the world, with a flying distance of just over 70km.
The airline previously served the Spice Island for just over a year but ended flights in January 2014. It initially offered a six times weekly schedule between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar from November 2012, but switched to a three times weekly operation from Kilimanjaro from October 2013 ahead of the suspension of flights at the start of the following year.
fastJet’s latest schedule release through to late June 2016 shows the introduction of a 12 times weekly Dar es Salaam – Zanzibar service from January 11, 2016, increasing to a double daily, 14 times weekly offering from March 21, 2016.
A popular tourist destination offering something for every type of traveller, Zanzibar is seen as a real treasure of East Africa. The archipelago is a semi-autonomous region off the coast of Tanzania, and alongside many small islands includes the main settlements of Unguja, more widely known as Zanzibar Island, and Pemba.
The UNESCO protected Stone Town on Zanzibar Island is one of the main cultural and artistic centres in East Africa. It was once the main trading centre in the Indian Oceanic region, bringing cultural influences from India, the Middle East and other parts of Africa.
Previously known as Kisauni Airport and Zanzibar International Airport, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, renamed in 2010 in honour of Abeid Amani Karume, the island's first president, is already linked to Dar es Salaam by Coastal Aviation, Auric Air, Five Forty Aviation, Precision Air, Regional Air Services and ZanAir.
The airport already has notable links into the hubs of mainland East Africa through Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) and Kenya Airways (Nairobi), while Mango provides a low-cost link to South Africa and flydubai (Dubai), Oman Air (Muscat) and Qatar Airways (Doha) offers flights into the Gulf region. Leisure carriers such as Arkefly, Condor, jetairfly, Meridiana, Neos and Travel Service Airlines support seasonal tourist demand from Europe.
The new fastJet service will not only support local demand to/from Dar es Salaam but also provide new connection opportunities to the low-cost carrier’s international flights into Tanzania, providing flight options to Harare, Zimbabwe and Lusaka, Zambia and significantly offering an alternate link to Johannesburg to support growing leisure demand from South African holidaymakers.
Based on OAG schedule information for this month, at 71km, the Dar es Salaam – Zanzibar sector will be the fourth shortest city pair to be served using A320 Family equipment, although the shorter routes are all part of triangular services or routes without local traffic rights. It overtakes Gulf Air’s Bahrain – Dammam route (87km) as the shortest scheduled route with a daily offering, which is flown multiple-times daily using A320s and A321s.
The shortest actual flight route with the A320 Family, according to the data provider, is the Arrecife - Fuerteventura sector being flown by airberlin, Austrian Airlines, Condor and Niki as part of a triangular service into the Canary Islands offering using a mix of A319, A320 and A321 variants, with the list also including a TAP Portugal weekly A320 flight between Porto Santo and Funchal and a twice weekly Thomas Cook Belgium A320 flight between Boa Vista Island and Sal Island.
|Rank||Published Airline||Origin||Destination||Distance (km)||Equipment|
|1=||airberlin (AB)||Arrecife (ACE)||Fuerteventura (FUE)||58||320|
|1=||Condor (DE)||Arrecife (ACE)||Fuerteventura (FUE)||58||320 / 32B / 321|
|1=||Niki (HG)||Arrecife (ACE)||Fuerteventura (FUE)||58||319 / 320 / 321|
|1=||Austrian Airlines (OS)||Arrecife (ACE)||Fuerteventura (FUE)||58||320|
|2||TAP Portugal (TP)||Porto Santo (PXO)||Funchal (FNC)||58||320|
|3||Thomas Cook Belgium (HQ)||Boa Vista Island (BVC)||Sal Island (SID)||66||320|
|4||Gulf Air (GF)||Bahrain (BAH)||Dammam (DMM)||87||320 / 321|
|5=||Czech Airlines (OK)||Prague (PRG)||Karlovy Vary (KLV)||97||319|
|5=||SATA Azores Airlines (S4)||Santa Maria Island (SMA)||Ponta Delgada (PDL)||97||320|
|7||Cubana (CU)||Havana (HAV)||Varadero (VRA)||98||320|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser (extracted December 2, 2015)|