Low cost airline, fastjet yesterday launched its inaugural flight between Harare and Johannesburg. fastjet, which is using a 144-seater Airbus A319, had about 55 passengers when it flew out to Johannesburg early in the morning. “We are happy that we recorded 100 percent on time performance to and from Johannesburg and we are encouraged by the numbers that we had given that it was our first flight,” said the director of flight operations Mr Ed Lanca.
“Today’s flight is an important milestone in fastjet’s route expansion and is a result of working closely with the governments and civil aviation authorities of Zimbabwe and South Africa to bring affordable, reliable, safe and on time flights between the two countries.”
Mr Lanca said that the airline will initially fly once daily to Johannesburg in the morning although there are plans to introduce an evening flight to cater for business people, traders or other people who would want to spend a day in Johannesburg before returning home in the evening flight on the same day.
He added that their target was first time flyers who could previously not fly because of prohibitive fares.
“Our objective is to make air travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa more accessible than ever before.
“The only alternative to flying is to undertake long and uncomfortable journeys by road, which can take up to 20 hours from Harare to Johannesburg.
“Through this affordable alternative we are making it easier for entrepreneurs, traders, tourists and other visitors to travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa and this will strengthen the two country’s relations, boost tourism and business, which will create jobs and boost both economies,” he said.
Mr Lanca said the commencement of flight operations between Harare and Johannesburg has already had a positive impact as fares on competing airlines also flying on the route have dropped by as much as 40 percent.
“The fact is that competition is good for consumers it give passengers options as well as bringing fares down,” he said.
Mr Lanca said they were expecting to receive several approvals for additional international routes connecting Zimbabwe further to East and Southern Africa within the current quarter of the year.