FASTJET PLANS FOR MORE AIR LINKS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA BEGIN TO EMERGE
(Posted 02nd November 2017)
Speculation is growing, that Fastjet, the aspiring pan-African LCC, will begin to link Mozambique and Zimbabwe with direct flights after launching operations from Maputo tomorrow, connecting three cities across this sprawling country.
With currently five countries on the Fastjet map, Tanzania where it all started a couple of years ago, South Africa to where the company head quarters moved earlier this year, Zimbabwe, Zambia – with no airline established there just flying to Lusaka for now – and of late Mozambique where flights are due to commence tomorrow, 03rd of November, does it make sense to provide additional airlines in particular on routes with a potential but hardly any connectivity.
Air links from Maputo to Harare, perhaps even Lusaka but for almost certain Johannesburg will be on the drawing board, now that the fleet renewal exercise has taken root and more right sized jets are on the way from both external lessors and from major shareholder Solenta Aviation.
In East Africa have hopes been expressed that when the second Embraer E190 is in full operation and the entire TZ schedule has been restored, the airline may once again look at connecting Entebbe or some other parts of Eastern Africa. It was there that the former aircraft choice Airbus A319 proved to be way too large to make commercial sense in the start up phase of new heavily competed destinations like Nairobi but where an E190 may be more cost effective and ensure the viability of a new route.
With Air Tanzania struggling to get their third Bombardier Q400 delivered – negotiations are ongoing to have the attached aircraft released – and facing similar prospects with other orders like the two Bombardier C300’s, could this be Fastjet’s narrow gap to push their own door wide open again unless political spanners are thrown their way.
No doubt however is the present focus of the Bezuidenhout led Fastjet team now firmly on Southern Africa where rich pickings await a properly run and cost controlled airline on routes between South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and even beyond.