fastjet’s first international route takes off

2013-10-18 09:05
Johannesburg - The inaugural flight of fastjet’s first international route, arrives at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport at 11:45 on Friday.

This flight kick-starts a new era of choice for passengers have suffered inflated prices on flights between two of Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities.

“Today is a further step in the transformation of the African aviation sector from its current high-cost, protected, and monopolistic business model to an industry in which fair competition in passengers’ best interests becomes the norm,” says Kyle Haywood, General Manager Africa for fastjet.

Flights between the two cities will initially be operated by fastjet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, increasing in frequency as soon as consumer demand dictates.

fastjet flights will depart on these days from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport at 09h15, and land at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport at 11:45, with a flight time of 3½ hours. The return flight from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam departs at 12:45, landing at 17:10.

Dar es Salaam is one hour ahead of Johannesburg.

Tickets on fastjet flights between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam are priced from R1 600 one way, inclusive of all airport and government taxes, which are approximately R555.

“For many years, the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route has been operated by just one airline, and the lack of competition has led to inflated fares,” says Haywood.

“It can cost almost the same for the 11 hour flight between Johannesburg and London as it does for a 3½ hour flight from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam, which just doesn’t make sense. Quite simply, passengers are being ripped off.”

“fastjet will substantially reduce the route’s average fare and in doing so will make it possible for more people to afford to fly between Tanzania and South Africa, whether they are travelling on business or for pleasure,” he said.

“As consumer demand for this route grows, we expect to increase the frequency of flights between the two cities very quickly.”

Bookings can be made online at; by telephone via fastjet’s customer service centre on 011 289 8090; or at fastjet’s offices at OR Tambo International Airport. In the near future it will be possible to make bookings through travel agents and ticketing vendors such as Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers or Checkers Hyper stores.

fastjet has adopted a business model of charging for items of luggage consistent with low-cost airline best practice worldwide. Passengers may take one item of hand luggage onto their flight at no charge, with any additional items of luggage checked into the hold attracting a pre-paid one-way charge of R110 per item.

“We’ve chosen to go this route because different passengers have different luggage requirements. Adopting this model means that our business passengers, who may only travel with a carry-on overnight bag, will not incur the same luggage costs as a diving, golf-playing, surfing holiday-maker staying for two weeks,” explains Haywood. “In presenting a true low-cost model, we are giving our passengers the power to decide how much they spend – or don’t spend – on their luggage.”

South African passport holders do not need a visa to visit Tanzania if they intend staying for 90 days or less, and the same is true of Tanzanian passport holders visiting South Africa. However, a current yellow fever vaccination certificate is required when entering both Tanzania and South Africa on flights from each country.

The average return fare quoted by the only competitor flying directly between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam - South African Airways (SAA) - is approximately R6 300 all inclusive.

“As a monopoly operator, SAA has had the freedom, the incentive, and the means to inflate fares on a route with zero competition – unless passengers are willing to contemplate transferring through Nairobi or Addis Ababa and increasing flight times from 3½ to a potential 21 hours,” says Haywood.

fastjet commits to being transparent in its pricing, making sure that passengers know exactly what they’re paying for and what they’re getting for their money. Haywood says the only figure that matters is the total price passengers pay, and that fuel surcharges on airline fares is unfair and unjustified. Unlike SAA, fastjet does not charge fuel surcharges.

“We certainly don’t expect SAA to take our entry onto their comfortable monopoly route lying down,” says Haywood. “We don’t believe it is a coincidence that SAA and Mango have increased their frequencies on the Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar routes respectively, shortly after we announced our route between South Africa and Tanzania in June.”

“Our commitment is to continue to offer the lowest possible prices on the routes we service for the long-term, and this promise will remain in place as we expand our African route network,” says Haywood.

Presently, fastjet flies domestically within Tanzania, including routes from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro, and Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar. Flights between Dar es Salaam and Mbeya commence on 1st November. The route between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg is fastjet’s first international route as part of its strategy to become the first pan-African, true low-cost airline.

“Once the Dar es Salaam route is fully established and profitable we will turn our attention again to the South African market as a second fastjet base for both regional and domestic operations. Regional routes from South Africa to Sub-Saharan destinations lack effective competition and are both underserved and overpriced and ready for an alternative to the cosy relationship between South African Airways and the respective national carrier of each country,” says Haywood.
Read more on:    fastjet  |  saa  |  tanzania  |  south africa  |  flights  |  travel south africa  |  travel international

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