Fastjet: Zambia likely to serve as second base

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FASTJET aimed to make Zambia its second base by the end of the year, while intensifying efforts to win permission for flights in Kenya, a market seen as key to its plans for a pan-African discount network, the carrier said this week. FastJet had held “very productive discussions” with the government in Lusaka on the establishment of FastJet Zambia, chief executive Ed Winter said. In contrast, talks with authorities in Kenya, which the airline once earmarked for its initial base, remained protracted, he said. After Zambia, FastJet would most likely station planes in Zimbabwe and South Africa – markets the London-based company already served from its existing operational headquarters in Tanzania, Winter said. The carrier initiated its first international route, from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, in October last year, and has since added services to Lusaka and Harare. “Our rate of growth has been far slower than we originally intended,” Winter said on Monday at the International Air Transport Association’s Africa Aviation Day conference in Johannesburg. “It’s taken a long, long time to get those international routes. We expected to be flying international routes literally from day one.” Progress has been slow in reaching an accord with licensing authorities in Kenya, where FastJet had aimed to start flights after its formation in 2012. – Bloomberg

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