VENTURES AFRICA – Pan-Africa low-cost airline, fastjet has began operations yesterday with the sale of its first tickets. The airline, which has aviation entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Lonrho among its backers, will offer $20 domestic flights in Tanzania, with the routes officially opening at the end of the month.
The airline has chosen Dar es Salaam as its first operating base in Africa, with flights from Julius Nyerere International Airport set to commence on 29 November.
Chairman David Lenigas said: “The sale of the first tickets for fastjet anywhere in the world is a momentous day for the company and the culmination of six months of hard work from the fastjet team. Our first three Airbus A319s will be arriving in Tanzania shortly and we are very much looking forward to providing reliable airline services to an international standard for the people of Africa.”
“The fastjet launch in Tanzania will be the start of what the Company believes will be a truly great pan-African low cost airline. Over time, we plan to have fastjet flying the continent of Africa from north to south and east to west.”
The launch comes just six months after the airline was founded. fast will now take over the routes owned by Fly540, previously owned by African conglomerate Lonrho. Lonrho however remains the brand for flights in Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
Passengers can purchase their tickets through travel agents and Fastjet’s own sales desk, call centre and offices. He company’s new website, will launch next week providing information on routes and fare schedules. The site will also soon allow tickets to be bought using credit/debit cards, as well as by mobile phone.
Two flights daily tickets are on sale for flights between Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, as well as Dar es Salaam and Mwanza while other routes to domestic locations and other East African destinations will be announced later.
Fastjet Chief Executive, Ed Winter, said the Fastjet will make flying an affordable option for more Tanzanians than ever before, bringing new opportunities for trade, leisure trips, and family visits.
“…we are grateful to our partners in Tanzania for their support to date, and we look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with the people of Tanzania…,” he said.
“We have had a great response to our first tickets going on sale with over 100 seats sold within the first two hours for flights departing from the November 29.”
“Everyone at fastjet is really excited about bringing low cost air travel to the people of Africa and with prices starting at $20 one-way excluding taxes and charges, we are making flying an affordable option for more Tanzanians than ever before.”
Meanwhile, Fastjet’s Chief Commercial Officer Richard Bodin, told journalist in Dar es Salaam that the ticket launch marks a significant milestone in the company’s drive to open up air travel to countless of Tanzanians who previously could not afford to fly.
Fastjet had rebranded ahead of the launch with its new logo that features the ‘kasuku’ or African Grey Parrot which is renowned for its friendliness to suit Fastjet’s motto: smart travel.