A domestic operation in South Africa is still on the cards for Tanzanian-based low-cost airline, Fastjet, with several more regional hubs being considered to grow intra-African routes. Capacity on the airline’s new Dar es Salaam – Lusaka service, launched last month, has been doubled with Chief Commercial Officer, Richard Bodin, commenting that plans to establish an independent base in Zambia have progressed well. "We are still very keen to establish an operation in Johannesburg," he added. "What we are currently working towards is to link our destinations with Johannesburg. Once we have established our base in Zambia, which we expect could be within the next three to six months, the very first route launched will be Johannesburg."
The long-term plan is to see different Fastjet-branded companies established across Africa. Ownership could be almost entirely locally-owned but "it is part of our quest to democratise air travel in Africa," Mr. Bodin maintained. He said the airline had no plans to syndicate its brand beyond the continent. And while new routes and hubs will be established in places of least resistance, a South African operation remains a priority. "We are in discussions with a few governments and companies which have seen the impact that affordable airfares have had.
"Zambia was chosen because obviously the market there offers great opportunities but also because the authorities there were very welcoming and keen. It is inevitable that countries with the most forward-thinking mentality are going to be the ones that attract us. And South Africa is certainly going to be a cornerstone," he added.