AIRLINES flying the Harare-Johannesburg route have slashed airfares by nearly 40% after the entry of low cost carrier fastjet Zimbabwe.
Fastjet on Monday launched its maiden flight to South Africa signaling intensifying competition in the aviation sector.
Fastjet which recently cloaked the 1,8 million passengers mark since launching in November 2012 departed Harare International Airport at 6.15am and landed at O.R Tambo International Airport at 7.55am. The return flight took off at 8.40am.
The plane landed at Harare International Airport at 10.15am.
“The fact is that competition is good for consumers. It brings choice and it brings air fares down,” fasjet director of flights Ed Lanca said.
“The impact of the fastjet flights between Johannesburg and Harare has already been considerable, demonstrated by the fact that fares on competing airlines flying between the two countries have dropped by as much as 40% since fastjet announced (last month) its flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe,” the company said.
Tickets for flights are already on sale, 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).
He said the airline is targeting first-time passengers such informal traders, tourists and business people.
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.
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