Aspiring pan-African carrier now aims to start its South Africa services with Johannesburg–Cape Town flights from early July.Fastjet’s South African flights will start in early July, rather than late May, as the carrier aims to first improve its ticket distribution, said Kyle Haywood, head of the carrier’s South African operation.
"At the moment the target date is the first week of July," he told Routes News. "We are just working on some further enhancements to the distribution system for the product in the country and the web. We decided to upgrade certain elements of that so that it is a stronger proposition from day one." Fastjet, which had earlier considered reviving the bankrupt 1time airline, is now poised to operate in South Africa through Fastjet Holdings, a local company 25% owned by Fastjet and 75% by local investors headed by Edward Zuma and Yusuf Kajee. Local operator Federal Air will provide services under its own licence in South Africa, initially though a six-month wet-lease of a B737-300 from Star Air Cargo, a leasing company based in Johannesburg. In the longer term, Fastjet aims to secure permission from South African authorities to operate one of its A319s. Johannesburg–Cape Town flights, which will launch Fastjet in South Africa, had been due to fly from May 31, according to a company press release issued last month. The Johannesburg–Cape Town route is ranked as the world's tenth busiest route by passenger volume by Amadeus, with about 4.4 million travellers in 2012. In other African countries, fastjet already operates fastjet Tanzania, Fly540 Kenya, Fly 540 Ghana and Fly540 Angola. Fastjet is now looking to expand its network with international routes from its base in Tanzania, said Haywood. "In particular, we are looking at the route connectivity between Tanzania and South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya and we’re working with Uganda and also looking at a Zambia connection to Dar es Salaam." But although the airline is "able and ready" to open new routes, it is still securing governments’ approval and is currently focused on its existing bases, he added. "We’re waiting for things to happen now and pushing for those things to happen in Tanzania – and obviously the South African base and project will require a lot of attention and time and focus – and that will keep us busy between the two," he said. "That will keep us busy until the end of the year and beyond, before we can look at different bases’ development."Source: routesnews, Piers Evans
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