(eTN) – “For some time the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route has only been operated by one airline and the lack of competition has created inflated fares. FastJet will substantially reduce the average fare and in doing so will encourage more leisure and business traffic between Tanzania and South Africa,” says Richard Bodin, COO of FastJet, whom this correspondent met recently at the Routes Africa meeting in Kampala.
South Africa will be FastJet’s first international route from Tanzania, as the airline has indicated flights between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg will commence on September 27. FastJet will initially operate three flights per week, using their A319 for the 3½ hour flight, offering full-service carrier South African Airways, for some time now alone on the route without competition, the prospect of having to drop fares to retain market share.
Precision Air, which has been holding the route rights as designated carrier from Tanzania, did some time ago halt their flights to South Africa, leaving the route to South African Airways, which while flying daily kept fare levels up to a point where many passengers would rather fly with Kenya Airways via Nairobi or with RwandAir via Kigali in order to get more affordably deals. These two airlines will no doubt be watching the market entry of FastJet on the Johannesburg route with hawk eyes too to see how their own connecting traffic to South Africa might be affected.
A regular source in Dar es Salaam quipped: “I hope they will this time state ticket prices and not fares, to which then all those other charges have to be added, so that the market has a true measure of what they charge against the charges of SAA, KQ, and WB. It should in fact be to their advantage to give the public a direct comparison and not needing calculators again to work out what the final cost will be.”
No launch fares or ticket cost have yet been announced but are expected to be published shortly, when bookings are opening on July 31.