fastjet’s inaugural flight between Harare in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg in South Africa took off today, Monday 1 February 2016, marking the low-cost airline’s newest international route in Africa.
Flight FN8102 departed Harare International Airport at 06h15 and landed in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport at 07h55. The return FN8108 flight from Johannesburg took off at 08h40 and was welcomed back to Harare at 10h15 with an official launch ceremony attended by CAAZ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Chawota, ZTA Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Givemore Chidzidzi as well as other senior officials.
“Today’s flight is an important milestone in fastjet’s route expansion and is a result of working closely with the governments and civil aviation authorities of Zimbabwe and South Africa to bring affordable, reliable, safe, and on-time flights between the two countries,” says Richard Bodin, fastjet’s Chief Commercial Officer.
fastjet will initially operate the route once daily on its modern Airbus A319 jet aircraft, with an additional daily flight expected to be quickly added as consumer demand increases.
The commencement of flights on the Harare / Johannesburg route is due to fastjet Zimbabwe receiving clearance from the Zimbabwean and South African governments to operate flights between the two respective countries.
The airline also announced that it intends launching a second international route flying between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg in the near future. Furthermore, it expects to receive approval for additional international flights to connect Zimbabwe to further East and Southern Africa markets within the first quarter of 2016.
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 its flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“The fact is that competition is good for consumers. It brings choice and it brings air fares down,” says Bodin.
“Our objective is to make air travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa more accessible than ever before. The only alternative to flying is to undertake long and uncomfortable journeys by road, which can take up to 20 hours from Harare to Johannesburg,” says Bodin.
Supporting this statement is recent research undertaken by the airline, showing that up to 40% of passengers on all routes were first time flyers able to afford air travel for the first time.
“Making it easier for more entrepreneurs, traders, tourists and other visitors to travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa will strengthen the countries’ relationship, boost tourism and business sectors, create jobs and contribute significantly to both countries’ economic growth,” says Bodin.