Fastjet gets clearance for African routes

African budget airline Fastjet, backed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, on Friday said it had been granted permission to launch international flights from Tanzania to South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda.

Fastjet said the route approvals had been granted by the relevant governments under the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) between Tanzania and the other countries.

Ed Winter, CEO and Chairman of Fastjet said: "This is a monumental day in Fastjet's history and brings us closer to our goal of becoming Africa's first pan continental low-cost airline. To date our growth has been inhibited by lack of international routes in our network. We have expended huge effort over the past six months in obtaining these rights and we can only thank the government and population of Tanzania who have lobbied hard to allow us to gain access to the bilateral rights to operate to these countries. We will soon announce launch dates for flights to Johannesburg, Kigali and Lusaka from Dar es Salaam.

"We are especially pleased to be launching flights between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg and we expect this to be a particularly popular route. South African Airways has had a monopoly on this route for far too long and we are very keen to offer substantially more affordable fares to customers and further stimulate the potential traffic between these key African cities. This can only have a very positive effect on the critical trade, commercial and tourism industries between South Africa and Tanzania."

The company said it was putting its plans to launch a domestic service in South Africa on hold.

"Bringing the Fastjet brand to South Africa is a cornerstone in the creation of our pan-African network," Winter explained. "We remain totally committed to launching the Fastjet brand in South Africa as soon as possible, but given all the time and effort the team has invested over the past months to secure our international route designations, we have taken the sensible decision to prioritise setting up these lucrative and high profile routes first, before turning our attention to launch the Fastjet brand on domestic routes in South Africa."

On Thursday, Fastjet agreed to create a low-cost airline operating within Nigeria, jointly with Nigeria's Red 1 Airways.

"The combination of Fastjet's brand and experience and Red 1's extensive knowledge of the local aviation market and Nigerian business landscape, is a perfect foundation for a great airline. The Nigerian people deserve a new airline offering great value and operating to international standards of safety and reliability," Winter said.

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