Fastjet has received a nod from the Kenyan government to operate flights between Tanzania and Kenya under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries.
The low cost carrier will now operate on two new routes, Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, and Kilimanjaro to Nairobi while charging one way fares starting from as low as at USD80 and USD50 respectively, exclusive of tax.
According to a statement from the carrier, the maiden flights will commence on January 11 and will operate daily flights between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi and between Kilimanjaro and Nairobi. Flights between Zanzibar and Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and Mombasa are also expected to be added to the network later this year.
The move to introduce the flights has been met with a counter measure by Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways KQ. KQ on 10th January posted a notice informing its customers on the benefits they stand to get by flying on KQ from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam. According to the notice, the carrier offers a return ticket at 266 dollars; given that the carrier operates five daily flights between the two routes. Their prices are tax inclusive and come with complementary refreshments on board.
Fastjet only offers one daily flight between the two routes and their tickets are priced on one-way basis where passengers are expected to buy refreshments while on board as they are not covered by the ticket.
For Fastjet, this is a major breakthrough on the route as they have been pushing for landing rights.
“Fastjet Tanzania has been working towards the launch of these routes for some time and we are extremely pleased that clearance has now been granted to commence operations,” Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer of fastjet Plc said.
Mr Winter also said that to date, passenger traffic between the major cities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, which have a combined population of over 8 million people, has been limited by high air fares which we believe, have excluded large parts of the local population from air travel.
“The only alternative to flying is to undertake a long and difficult journey by road, which can take up to 12 hours. As has been the case with other routes that we have launched, we expect to stimulate the market as passengers embrace fastjet’s great value, safe, reliable flights and move from road to the air,” he said.
“Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are not only key travel destinations, and two of the busiest* airports in the region, but also hubs with extensive regional and international networks. Expanding the network into Kenya marks an important milestone in fastjet’s strategic development and is a significant achievement for the Company, its staff and shareholders.” Mr Winter added.
Fastjet Plc is the holding company of the low cost airline fastjet which commenced flights under the fastjet brand in Tanzania in November 2012. The company is quoted at the London Stock Exchange's AIM Market. Utilising its fleet of Airbus A319s, fastjet is implementing the low-cost model across Africa and its long-term strategy is to become the continent's first low-cost, Pan-African airline.