November 29, 2012
African low-fare operator FastJet is scheduled to launched Nov. 29 with two daily roundtrip flights from Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kilimanjaro, in the north of the country.
FastJet plans to expand operations to Kenya with services from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar as well as domestic flights to Mombasa.
The two countries combined will create sufficient demand for FastJet to expand its fleet to about 15 aircraft by the end of 2013, says FastJet CEO Ed Winter.
Bookings are greatly ahead of expectations, according to Winter, and the airline anticipates nearly full flights in its first few days of scheduled operations.
FastJet’s ambitions go beyond Tanzania and Kenya, however. The airline wants to establish a new business model and become the first true pan-African airline. While Kenya and Tanzania are important markets in the East of the continent, there appear to be abundant opportunities in population-rich regions, such as Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa.
“We don’t assume in our business plan that liberalization will come in the near future,” Winter says.
FastJet chose Tanzania as its first base even though Ghana would have been a more attractive market.
But Ghana has been reluctant to abandon its high departure tax that is making low-cost operations unprofitable.