Following the placement by Fastjet PLC of an Airbus A319 in Zimbabwe, that country’s civil aviation authority granted the airline the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) yesterday. This is the precursor to launching both domestic and regional flight operations as a designated airline which is registered in Zimbabwe and meets the required nationality ownership standards as is also the case in Tanzania, presently the only other country in Africa with a Fastjet operation. The audit ahead of handing Fastjet their AOC included a comprehensive review of the company’s operating manuals and standards, maintenance arrangements for the aircraft, training for crews, and qualifications of senior staff holding positions as accountable managers, among other points on the extensive checklist.
This development completes the regulatory requirements which started in March 2015 after the ZCAA granted Fastjet an Air Service License.
Fastjet is expected to announce shortly the routes they will serve, and the launch dates, both within Zimbabwe but also to neighboring countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. It could however be established already that seats have been put on sale at a low level to Victoria Falls, which according to an added information source this morning will initially be served three times a week.
Fastjet PLC CEO Ed Winter was prompt in offering his comments on the development when he said: “Adding a second fastjet airline to our network is an incredibly significant milestone on our path to becoming the most successful pan African low cost airline. We recognised the real potential in Zimbabwe some time ago and have been working hard together with the relevant authorities towards this momentous day. With their support we are now in a position to launch our Zimbabwean operation. In Tanzania we have become the airline of choice, with an enviable operational reputation and market leading fares. I am confident that, with our proven low-cost model, we can replicate this success in Zimbabwe.”
Next in line will be Zambia, where another Airbus A319 has already been secured to be placed in Lusaka to also complete the AOC audit ahead of launching operations there, too. Fastjet has in recent weeks suggested that additional airlines under the Fastjet brand could be launched in South Africa, Kenya and even Uganda, from where Fastjet already holds 5th freedom rights, likely making the setting up of a separate airline superfluous.