Wednesday, July 17, 2013

► SOUTH AFRICA: fastjet keen on Mozambique, Zimbabwe markets as more SA carriers eye Dar es Salaam.

fastjetWith the launch of Johannesburg - Dar es Salaam flights said to be approaching "soon", fastjet says once operations are in place, it would like to get in on the difficult to access, albeit very lucrative, South Africa - Mozambique and South Africa - Zimbabwe markets.
fastjet A320In an interview with South Africa's TravelBuyer magazine, fastjet CEO, Mr Edward Winter, said regional routes, "such as Johannesburg to Maputo and Johannesburg to Harare", are of real interest to his airline:
These routes are constrained and fares are exorbitant. We want to open up the market, make it accessible and bring fares down." He added that over 30% of passengers flying on the domestic services in Tanzania from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro or Mwanza were first-time flyers. “This is testament to the potential for aviation’s growth in Africa. The reality is that passengers can now travel these routes, which were previously only serviced by buses or not at all. This is what the low-cost model was designed for.
In likely preparation for fastjet's anticipated regional début, South African Airways (SA), who effectively have a monopoly on the Johannesburg - Dar es Salaam route since Tanzania's Precision Air (PW) abandoned it last year citing viability problems, are to boost their frequencies on the route from 11x to 12x weekly effective July 30.

Interestingly, Johannesburg-based Interair (D6) has also applied for rights to serve Dar es Salaam with five weekly flights starting with 3 weekly frequencies from September with the remaining 2 to be available in April 2014.

Regional flights to Mozambique and Zimbabwe are currently operated by South African Airways (SA), SA Airlink (4Z), SA Express (XZ) and British Airways Comair (BA).

Though the viable operation of a Low Cost Carrier in Africa is constrained by hefty taxes, red tape and protectionism, Mr Winter did remain cautiously optimistic about the carrier's likelihood of overcoming the odds stating “Africa is the last frontier. I’m convinced we can make it work, one step at a time”.