FastJet to commence operations in Ghana next year
by Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
FastJet, Africa’s first low-cost carrier, has announced plans to commence operations in Ghana next year.
FastJet Plc which is the holding company for Fly540 has been operating in Ghana for about a year now, while FastJet will start operations next year, according to senior officials of the air carrier. Its Fly540 operates from four bases in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola.
The officials added that Fly540 would be rebranded to FastJet when the airline starts commercial operations in the West African country.
Fly540 currently has 10 aircraft serving around 25 domestic and regional destinations, carrying approximately 750,000 passengers per year with a strong emphasis on safety, security and reliability.
Additionally, Fastjet hinted that it will establish its first operating base at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The airline will commence flying in November, with seats going on sale online, a few weeks earlier. Fares will be available for as low as $20 one-way, excluding taxes and charges.
The lease for FastJet’s first Airbus A319 aircraft has been signed with lessor BBAM and will arrive in Dar es Salaam next month. Recruitment for crew and ground staff is already well advanced, according to a senior official.
FastJet Chief Executive Ed Winter said:“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.”
Following a consultancy assignment by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup, focused on determining the feasibility of launching an European-style low-cost carrier in Africa, we are now preparing for the launch of FastJet, Africa’s first low-cost carrier, flying a modern fleet of jet aircraft based on the Fly540 platform of licences and routes.
First flights under the FastJet brand are expected to take place in November, bringing an entirely new flying experience to the African market. FastJet Plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
It is instructive to note that Africa is a growth aviation market with regional and intercontinental traffic both growing rapidly as a result of the continent’s continued economic expansion.
With over one billion people, Africa is hampered by poor infrastructure, a lack of roads and railways and long distances between urban populations.
The African aviation market is significantly underserved with air travel spending as a percentage of GDP a fraction of that of other emerging markets. With rapid economic growth and, as a result, the growing wealth of African citizens, more and more people will be able to benefit from aviation and fly for the first time.
Airbus forecasts total passenger traffic in Africa will grow at an average yearly rate of 5.7% between 2010 and 2030, well above the 4.8 per cent world average growth rate and expects to deliver more than 1,100 new passenger aircraft, 4% of world deliveries, in the next 20 years to satisfy growing demand.
Seven of the top 10 fastest growing global economies are now in Africa with consumer spending for the continent forecast to reach US$1.6 trillion by 2020.
A recent McKinsey report (June 2010) forecast that 128 million households in Africa are expected to have discretionary income to spend by 2020, while 50% of Africans are expected to live in cities by the same date with urban jobs bringing rising incomes.
The McKinsey report concluded that today the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region and that early entry into African economies provides opportunities to create markets, establish brands, shape.
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