Fastjet has earlier today announced that the Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development has granted them an Air Service Permit, similar to what other countries in the region call an Air Service License.
This is a crucial first step towards establishing Fastjet (Zimbabwe) and work is already in progress towards meeting the conditions for an Air Operator Certificate, in short AOC, which will allow the start of operations from the new base in Harare. Sources close to the airline also confirmed that the Zimbabwean authorities have accepted the business plan Fastjet submitted, the proposed aircraft type to be deployed in Zimbabwe and most important the ownership structure. It is the latter which makes certain that nationality requirements are fully met in order to qualify being designated as a Zimbabwean carrier and obtaining route rights from Zimbabwe into other African countries in the region.
This development goes hand in hand with a similar process underway in neighboring Zambia where Fastjet is equally at an advanced stage to commence flights just as soon as they have been granted their AOC.
Said Ed Winter, Chairman of Fastjet PLC: “We recognized the real potential in Zimbabwe some time ago and have been working with the authorities to build fastjet Zimbabwe, and obtain permission to commence operations to various domestic and international destinations from the country. The granting of the ASP demonstrates the ever-increasing reputation that fastjet has built across the region and marks a significant step forward for our business. fastjet has identified many potential routes within and from Zimbabwe where it believes that the low-cost model will stimulate and tap into the huge market of passengers currently travelling by bus. For example there are as many as 100 buses a day traveling the 1,100 km between Harare and Johannesburg at fares up to $120 – return.” It is expected that Fastjet’s lowest fare levels will match those bus fares if not be lower, as presently the lowest international fares out of Dar es Salaam come in at US$50, plus taxes and fees, one way.
In a related development, all aviation eyes across the East African Community are now on the upcoming discussions between Tanzania and Kenya towards granting Fastjet landing rights from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi. This follows the backlash a week ago when Tanzanian authorities reduced frequencies by Kenyan airlines into Tanzania by a staggering 60 percent. This action was taken as a punitive measure for not granting Fastjet, a designated airline by Tanzanian aviation authorities which meets all the required nationality criteria, landing rights since the first application was launched nearly a year ago.
Fastjet flies from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro, Mwanza and Mbeya on Tanzanian domestic routes while also serving Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare and Entebbe on regional and African continental routes.