Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - A European-style low-cost carrier is scheduled to make its inaugural flight from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in November 2012 after its first aircraft, a leased Airbus A319, lands in October, airline’s chief executive Ed Winter announced Wednesday.
“Our initial focus will be on East Africa, with the airline’s first base established in Dar es Salaam,” he said, adding that the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority had approved the use of the aircraft.
“FastJet is Africa’s first low-cost carrier … and its fares on domestic flights will be as low as US$20 for a one-way ticket [but] excluding taxes and other charges,” said Mr. Winter.
FastJet is incorporated in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985.
It is the holding company for airline Fly540, which already operates from four bases in Africa, namely, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola, and serves around 25 domestic and regional destinations.
Once established in East Africa, FastJet intends to set up other bases in Accra and Luanda, flying a modern fleet of jet aircraft based on the Fly540 platform of licences and routes.
For frequent travellers in Tanzania, availability of a budget airline will be a great relief since the national carrier, Air Tanzania, has failed to meet their needs and expectations due to its poor management and under-capitalisation by the government.
Currently, Precision Air is their only airline of choice for domestic and regional travel and, according to the company’s Group managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Alfonse M. Kioko, the airline is operating profitably.
During its financial year 2011/2012 that ended 31 March, the airline flew 825,103 passengers and this year, Kioko said, “We remain optimistic that we shall hit and possibly surpass the one million mark.”
Kioko said that despite the few challenges facing the aviation industry, especially the escalating fuel prices, last year the airline’s revenue grew by 30 percent compared to the previous year.
In order to meet its growth plans, the company recently took delivery of its third Boeing 737-300 and it is scheduled to receive two ATR-600 planes in September and December 2012.
“We launched our operations to Lusaka, Zambia and Lubumbashi, DR Congo on 22 June 2012. We expect to launch our services to Harare and Lilongwe later in the year,” Kioko added, noting that the airline’s flights to Johannesburg offered more connections beyond South Africa.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 19Sept2012