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Budget airline Fast Jet flies into EA market

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – An airline associated with Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of EasyGroup, is set to commence low cost flight operations in Tanzania next month, as it awaits approvals to operate in Kenya.

FastJet Chief Commercial Officer Richard Bodin said on Wednesday that they would commence low-cost flights in Tanzania next month, with fares as low as Sh1,700.

FastJet is owned by international investment firm Rubicon which acquired a 49 percent stake in Fly540 for Sh7.2 billion. The company, which has received the nod from Tanzania’s civil aviation authorities will deploy an Airbus A319 aircraft in Dar es Salaam next month, with tickets going on sale a few weeks earlier.

“Our initial focus will be on East Africa with the airline’s first base at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the A319 aircraft has already been approved by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority. This will be followed by a second base in Nairobi, Kenya, once the A319 is approved there. We look forward to bringing a great, reliable and affordable service to the people of East Africa,” Bodin said.

He explained that the low-cost airline’s tickets will be cheaper depending on how early one books theirs.

“What is unique with us is that we will be introducing the $20 dollar, even after including the government tax, it may not go beyond $50. Our main aim is to stimulate the market and allow more to travel by air rather than long distances with coaches,” said Bodin.

The company has applied for approval to operate budget flights in Kenya, alongside Kenya Airways which intends to launch its own low-cost airline, Jambo Jet.

FastJet will have a maximum of four flights per day with the biggest flight having a capacity of 156 passengers.

“We are really not focusing on getting a bigger market share, but as I said it’s about market stimulation strategy. We know Kenya Airways will also be launching their Jambo Jet soon and it will all be about the same aim; getting people in the lower level to travel by air,” he said.

Once established in East Africa, FastJet has plans to launch in Ghana and Angola.

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