Fastjet has launced a daily Harare to Johannburg flight. Photo: Supplied

Harare – Low cost carrier, Fastjet, on Monday launched its Harare to Johannesburg flight, with flight FN8102 leaving Harare International Airport at 06:15 and arriving at OR Tambo International at 07:55.

Speaking at an official launch ceremony at the Harare International Airport, Director of Flight Operations, Ed Lanca, said the launch of the flight had brought a new era of choice for passengers who have been forced to pay either high fares or were compelled to endure 20 hours of travel by road.

“Today’s flight is an important milestone in Fastjet’s route expansion and is a result of working closely with the governments and civil aviation authorities of Zimbabwe and South Africa to bring affordable, reliable, and safe and on time flights between the two countries,” he said.

Lanca said they would initially fly the route once a day, with plans underway to add another daily flight as a result of consumer demand.

The airline said it would also launch another international route, flying between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg, and was expecting to get approval to fly from Zimbabwe to the Far East and elsewhere in Southern Africa.

“The impact of the Fastjet flights between Harare and Johannesburg has already been considerable, demonstrated by the fact that fares on competing airlines flying between the two countries have dropped by as much as 40 per cent since Fastjet announced its flights between South Africa and Zimbabwe,” Lanca said.

He said they expected most of their passengers to be first-time flyers who could previously not afford the high fares charged by other airlines, adding that the introduction of the flight would also create employment.

“Making it easier for more entrepreneurs, traders, tourists and other visitors to travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa will strengthen the countries’ relationship, boost tourism and business sectors, create jobs and contribute significantly to both countries’ economic growth,” Lanca noted.

Wholesale traders, Lanca said, would be able to purchase wholesale produce in South Africa and transport them back as they would be allowed up to 80 kilograms of baggage under the Freighty Luggage option, which he said was likely to be popular.