fastjet spreads its wings to Zambia

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fastjet’s first flight between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka took off on 1 February 2014, marking the launch of the low-cost airline’s second international route across African skies.

Services between Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport will initially operate twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays, using fastjet’s modern Airbus A319 jet aircraft with seating for 156 passengers.

fastjet expects to increase the frequency of flights on this route in line with consumer demand, as more people make use of its safe, affordable and on-time service.

Flights will depart Dar es Salaam at 10h15 and land in Lusaka at 11h25, with a flight time of 2 hours 15 minutes.

This is considerably shorter than the 24 hour bus service that the vast majority of travellers between these two East African capital cities are forced to use presently. The return flight to Dar es Salaam departs at 12h05, landing at 15h20.

Tickets for flights between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka went on sale in December 2013, with fares currently starting as low as US$75 one-way (approximately R800), excluding airport and government taxes, significantly lower than fares charged by other jet aircraft operators who currently only offer non-direct flights between the two cities. No visas are required for citizens of the two countries for visits of less than 90 days.

With its low-cost fares, fastjet is making air travel more accessible to all, and expects many of its passengers on this new route to be first time flyers who would otherwise not have been able to afford to travel by air. Supporting this expectation is the research undertaken by the airline after its launch in Tanzania, which showed that 38% of its passengers were first time flyers.

“fastjet has been able to expand its international network by working closely with the governments of Tanzania and Zambia, who understand and value the positive impact that low-cost air travel can have on the lives of their citizens and the general economy,” says Ed Winter, CEO of fastjet.

“With their help in making this new route possible, we have added momentum to fastjet’s vision of democratising air travel on the African continent. We believe that this will lead to more affordable fares and greater cost efficiencies for passengers, businesses and governments.”

The establishment of the Lusaka – Dar es Salaam route is expected to boost the growing trade relationships between the neighbouring countries, making it easier for entrepreneurs, tourists and other visitors to travel between them, at an affordable cost.

“An effective aviation sector that offers passengers the power of choice and the freedom of affordability is essential to the continued growth of the warm relationship between Zambia and Tanzania, and to the growth of our respective tourism and business industries,” said Mark O’Donnell, chairman of Zambia Tourist Board.

fastjet also announced recently that it is in discussions with the Zambian government with the intention of establishing a Zambian-registered fastjet operation that would offer both domestic and international flights from Lusaka. Potential destinations being discussed include Ndola, Livingstone, and Johannesburg.

“The business and political environments in Zambia are very progressive and our discussions to date have been very positive. The aim of our operation would be to promote trade and tourism, increase and improve on safety and reliability within the Zambian aviation industry, as well as create employment opportunities,” said Winter.

The launch of the Dar es Salaam – Lusaka route follows in the tailwind of fastjet’s first international route between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam that took-off in October 2013, and its fifth domestic route within Tanzania from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya that first flew in November 2013.

Winter added that fastjet is changing the way that passengers approach air travel on the African continent.

“fastjet’s On Time Performance rate of 95% means that passengers can save money by booking their tickets online in advance, knowing that their journey will indeed take place as planned. In the past, passengers arrived at the airport on the morning of departure and only paid for their flight in cash once the airline decided that it had a serviceable aircraft and that it was actually financially worthwhile to take off.”

fastjet bookings from Zambia can be made online at www.fastjet.com/zm where the cheapest fares are guaranteed, through Voyagers Zambia Ltd on +260 211 256864 or through travel agents.

fastjet bookings from Tanzania can be made online at www.fastjet.com/tz where the cheapest fares are guaranteed, through any fastjet office or through travel agents. Payment for tickets can be made with cash, online with a credit card or through Mpesa and Tigo Pesa.

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