FastJets eyes more investments

A budget airline, Fastjet, which has become a saviour airline among budget travellers, has a plan to boost its fleet to 35 by 2018. Upon the arrival of 35 aircraft, the airline will be able to carry 10 million people.

Speaking during the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo in Zimbabwe, Fastjet Head of Marketing, Ms Jai Gilbert, said that her company already has great presence in Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, hence the desire to grow more and expand its wings.

The airline has at present three planes and is in the process of introducing the fourth aircraft by next month while the fifth aircraft has been ordered and will be in operation before the end of the year.

Ms Gilbert said that in the domestic perspective, Tanzania has significantly helped Fastjet to grow and has also been able provide commercial and tourism opportunities.

“The Government of Tanzania is doing a tremendous job in supporting us all this time, which has made us the number one operator in Africa,” she proudly remarked.

Since commencing operations in 2012, Fastjet has carried over 1.2 million passengers whereby 38 per cent of them were first time flyers. Ms Gilbert reported that the airline has managed to expand its domestic operations in Tanzania and have now increased route frequency significantly by flying to Mwanza five times a day and daily to Mbeya and Kilimanjaro.

The airline’s official told reporters that the airline had eamarked on a deliberate campaign to educate Tanzanians on the importance of using the airline so that they can not only save money but time too.

She said that instead of them using two days to travel to Mwanza or Kilimanjaro by bus to do their business, they can now spend an hour to go and be back on the same day.

“Airlines can help them do business three to four times a week instead of once per week, adding that this can help them grow their business and be able to provide business opportunities to their companies.

Reporting on the Dar es Salaam-Harare route progress, Ms Gilbert said that Fastjet has since increased its frequency on the route to four times a week after being overwhelmed by demand from three times a week.

She said that they are now working with local aviation authorities in Zimbabwe to introduce domestic operations. “We want to serve in Zimbabwe’s domestic routes; and we hope that we will soon be able to serve the Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and Johannesburg route.

Executive Director, Destination Marketing, of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Mr Jeffrey Manjengwa, said Fastjet’s entry into Zimbabwe helped the country to reach another market segment that has been ignored for a long time.

“Zimbabwe is thrilled with the coming of Fastjet and it is bringing its affordable price, reliable and safe service to the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Manjengwa said.

Mr Manjengwa added that the initiative would go a long way in increasing connectivity and would also improve trade and tourism between Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

The airline already serves domestic flights between Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Kilimanjaro and Mwanza as well as International voyages linking Dar es Salaam to Harare in Zimbabwe, Lusaka in Zambia, Johannesburg in South Africa, and Entebbe in Uganda, with a pending application to fly to Nairobi, Kenya.

Fastjet Zimbabwe has partnered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) to bring a Tanzanian delegation of tour operators and media to the Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo in Harare, which ended on Sunday.
Source: Daily News, reported by Mariam Said from Harare, Zimbabwe
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