MARKET CONDITIONS BLAMED FOR FLEET REDUCTION AT FASTJET
(Posted 05th May 2016)
Sources close to Fastjet have confirmed that the airline is in the process of reducing their fleet of aircraft from the present six to five by returning one leased A319 jet to the lessors.
The main reason for that is presently seen in the relatively softer travel market in Tanzania, where, following the inauguration of the Magufuli government, travel by civil servants has been capped and even curbed, impacting on load factors on key routes.
While the launch of Fastjet Zimbabwe last year went according to schedule and now has the airline serve Johannesburg nonstop twice a day out of Harare, Victoria Falls as a domestic route and also now links Victoria Falls twice a week with Johannesburg, has the airline’s expected market entry in Zambia seen delays for reasons yet to be disclosed.
Fastjet Zambia was expected to be launched in late 2015 before expectations were moved to Q1 of this year, but with May already advancing is it now a matter of much speculation when finally flights from Lusaka will begin. It is perhaps that delay which has now led to the temporary capping of the fleet until an AOC has been secured from the Zambian Civil Aviation body and an aircraft then needs to be registered in that country.
Recent attacks by aviation loudmouth Stelios Haji-Ioannou, whose attacks on his erstwhile airline baby Easyjet were stopped in its tracks by the current management of that European low cost carrier, did clearly not help either and while former CEO Ed Winter called it a day – he was due to stay on after resigning independently earlier this year until a new CEO was in place – may Stelios have seen a shortlived success as he does not control the board room with votes and therefore tries to make himself heart with other unsavoury tactics.
Meanwhile has Fastjet launched several promotional campaigns in Tanzania to stimulate travel again, domestically and on continental routes where the airline now serves Entebbe, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Harare and Lilongwe.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across the Eastern African region and beyond