Nevertheless, while FastJet managed to move from the early planning stages to first flight within a year, infrastructure development in Tanzania has not kept pace.
The airline’s management has been pushing the country’s airport authorities to upgrade facilities, but so far nothing has been done in Dar es Salaam; FastJet also has to operate out of a tiny terminal in Mwanza International Airport. Because of the large number of tourists into Kilimanjaro, the airport there does not need upgrades for FastJet.
The carrier is based on Fly540, a regional airline with air operator certificates (AOCs) in Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Ghana.
The Fly540 brand in Tanzania was dropped with the launch of FastJet and will disappear in Kenya once the low-cost carrier (LCC) arrives in the first quarter of 2013. Using existing AOCs has enabled FastJet to speed up the certification and planning process.
But the most obvious market for an LCC in Africa is South Africa. FastJet is believed to have looked at acquiring 1time, a local carrier, but dropped the idea. 1time has since ceased operations.
Neither Winter nor Chief Commercial Officer Richard Bodin is prepared to comment on FastJet’s South African aspirations.
Winter says only that he continues to look at opportunities in other African countries as the airline strives to increase its markets. The FastJet CEO is currently traveling the continent to prepare for further initiatives based on the Tanzania model.