LONDON Stock Exchange listed low-cost airline fastjet will start flying to neighbouring South Africa on February as the airline seeks to expand its footprint in the region.
The emergence of low-cost airlines on Zimbabwe’s airspace under government’s open sky policy is now seen as an aggressive strategy to woo back big airlines which stopped flying to Harare after relations with the West soured over alleged human rights abuses and violations of property rights following the chaotic land reform program in 2000.
“fastjet Zimbabwe has announced that its first international routes will be from Harare and Victoria Falls to Johannesburg, South Africa,” the airline said.
“The launch of these routes is as a result of fastjet Zimbabwe receiving clearance from the Zimbabwean and South African governments to operate flights between the two respective countries.”
Return flights from Harare International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport to Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport will operate using fastjet’s Airbus A319 jet aircraft with seating for up to 144 passengers, the company said.
“Flights linking Victoria Falls to and from Johannesburg will initially be three times a week on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commencing 3rd February 2016,” said the company.
Tickets for flights will be on sale this week, with lowest priced fares on both routes of US$80 one-way excluding government and airport taxes (US$50 departing Zimbabwe or US$35 departing South Africa).
The company also announced it expects fastjet Zimbabwe to receive approval for additional international flights to commence from Zimbabwe to East and Southern Africa markets within the first quarter of 2016.
Over the course of the next three years, fastjet Zimbabwe expects to invest in the region of US$15million and employ approximately 200 people directly, with hundreds more employed in secondary services such as fuel, catering, and cleaning supporting the airline.-Staff Writer