South African aviation authority kills spirit of UNWTO’s World Tourism Day

FASTJET FALLS VICTIM OF SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION AUTHORITY SHENANIGANS

(Posted 26th September 2013)

On the eve of FastJet’s inaugural flight from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, timed to coincide with the UNWTO’s World Tourism Day celebrations, has the South African aviation authorities thrown a spanner in the works by demanding ‘additional documentation’.

This is the archetypical form of officially keeping a competitor to government owned South African Airways out of the skies over South Africa, as SAA enjoyed a pure monopoly on the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route, charging fares at will and compelling those who could not afford their tariffs to fly via Nairobi or Kigali to reach their destination in South Africa at more reasonable cost.

Said a travel agent from Dar who apparently had booked a seat on the inaugural flight ‘I have no words. This is pure sabotage to give SAA a bit of a longer run to make us pay through the nose. The reaction in the market will be bad for them because no matter what they will say here, perhaps blaming ‘officials’, no one will believe them. They are the beneficiaries of the delay and their sales, when FastJet will finally be allowed to fly, will show them the market reaction for such bad practice’.

FastJet, which has released a media statement just minutes ago to explain to their disappointed passengers the reasons for the postponement, has understandably opted for softer words and refrained from apportioning blame, but no such restrictions apply here to this correspondent.

World Tourism Day is supposed to unite the world of tourism destinations and Tanzania also being a member of SADC truly deserved better treatment than now shown by these bureaucrats. Are they in league with their own monopoly airline on this route, could they not have asked for those documents weeks ago when all the other permits had been secured and do they indeed need several days to study what FastJet has more or less instantly submitted?

The suddenly reduced fare by South African Airways on the route to Dar, as the following web source shows, is more or less self explanatory and I share the sentiments by said travel agent, that the market will punish the guilty.

This is an utterly dark mark against the South African aviation authorities, trampling the spirit of SADC and of the Yamoussoukro Declaration with both feet, and wearing steel studded boots to add injury to insult. Shame on them both!

fastjet first international route temporarily postponed

26th September 2013– fastjet, Africa’s low cost airline, announces that its first international flight between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, previously scheduled to take place on Friday 27 September 2013, has been temporarily postponed.

This postponement is due to unexpected administrative delays caused by the South African Department of Transport this week making a very late request for additional documentation.

Although, fastjet delivered these documents without delay, the South African Department of Transport has said it will take several days to process these documents, thus delaying the start of fastjet flights on this international route. The delayed launch of this route is not expected to have any material effect on the financial performance of fastjet Tanzania.

Commenting on the news, fastjet Chief Executive Ed Winter said: “This postponement is very disappointing. Unfortunately however, administrative delays of this nature are not unusual in the markets in which we operate. Having complied with all the requests made of us and secured all the necessary licenses and permits in an extremely diligent and timely fashion, fastjet was led to believe that we were fully on-track to launch this route on the 27th September.”

fastjet would like to apologise to its customers for the inconvenience. All passengers affected by this delay will receive a full refund and assistance with re-booking a complimentary seat to fly within the next month.

South African based customers can contact fastjet customer services on customer.tanzania for any queries.

“Launching flights on this route remains a key priority for fastjet, and we are confident we will be operating on this service by mid-October, starting a new era of choice for passengers who continue to suffer inflated prices on flights between two of Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities” Winter continued.

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 has been on an incredible journey since we started flying domestically in Tanzania with a single A319 plane nearly 12 months ago between Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Kilimanjaro,” said Winter.

“Our Johannesburg route, where we will compete head-to-head with South African Airways to provide real value for money flights, represents the next step on that journey. Healthy and fair competition is vital in any economy and in any industry. Competition will bring choice and lower fares – a win-win for consumers,” he concludes.