The airline launched its maiden flight on the Harare-Victoria Falls route on Wednesday.
Speaking at the launch of the route, fastjet plc group chief executive officer Ed Winter said the low-cost airline plans to expand rapidly both locally and across the African continent, creating a comprehensive network of international destinations to complement its domestic routes within Zimbabwe.
He said the low-cost airline expect to add more flights to Victoria Falls as demand for its safe, quick, affordable and on-time service increases.
“fastjet Zimbabwe wants to bring Africa to Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe to Africa. Affordable air travel is key to Zimbabwe’s economic growth, particularly in the business and tourism sectors. We have worked closely with government and civil aviation stakeholders to bring low-cost air travel to Zimbabwe for this reason,” Winter said.
He said the airline’s goal “is to offer affordable air fares that empower more Zimbabweans to fly, whether it is for business, tourism or for visiting their family and friends”.
On the international routes, the low-cost carrier intends to fly into South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Malawi.
Winter said it made business sense to invest in Zimbabwe despite the current economic challenges. “It’s a good time to come to Zimbabwe, and people need cheap fares,” he added.
The low-cost airline plans to invest $15 million in the region in the next three years, employing approximately 200 people directly with hundreds more employed in secondary services such as fuel, catering and cleaning supporting the airline.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Michael Madanha said government was committed to the development of the aviation industry and the launch of fastjet Zimbabwe demonstrated that Zimbabwe was a safe destination for investment
“The introduction of new players in the market is in line with the government policy of liberalising the air transport sector. I therefore challenge you all to make maximum use of this business arrangement, as the government has recognised that affordable air transport is pivotal for the economic growth of our country,” Madanha said.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) board chairman Moosa Allana said the launch of the Harare-Victoria Falls route by fastjet was coming at a time when the upgrade of Victoria Falls Airport was almost complete.
“CAAZ is working towards fulfilment of the ZimAsset agenda as witnessed by our effort in upgrading our airport infrastructure and modernising our air navigation systems so as to enhance capacity, safety, security and efficiency,” he said.