fastjet the low-cost pan-African airline on Tuesday announced that it will commence flights to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg on March 25 in response to strong passenger and tour operator demand from within the South African market.
Services between Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport will operate using fastjet’s modern Airbus A319 jet aircraft with a seating capacity of up to 156 passengers.
Initially operating twice a week on Fridays and Sundays, fastjet’s flights will depart Victoria Falls at 12:40 and land in Johannesburg at 14:15, with a flight time of 1 hour 35 minutes. The return flight from Johannesburg departs at 14:55 and lands in Victoria Falls at 16:35.
“fastjet believes that affordable air travel is key to the continued growth of tourism between Zimbabwe and South Africa, with Victoria Falls being long established as a tourism draw card to the region,” said Ed Lanca, Director of Flight Operations at fastjet Zimbabwe.
“Launching this route between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg makes it more affordable for South Africans to visit the area’s many sights and attractions,” he said.
“Prior to announcing flights to Victoria Falls, fastjet had detailed discussions with South African and Zimbabwean tour operators in order to deliver suitable flight components to include in packaged tour offerings. We will rely on continued support from the travel agents and tour operators due to the destinations’ strong tourism attractions,” Lanca said.
fastjet says the new route between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg follows closely on the success of fastjet’s route launches between Harare and Victoria Falls, and its first international route from Harare to Johannesburg in January. The airline increased the frequency of its flights from Harare to Johannesburg just two weeks after the first flight took to the skies, and now connects the two cities 12 times each week.
“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 tourism sector. We continue to work closely with government and civil aviation stakeholders to bring low-cost air travel to Zimbabwe for this very reason,” said Lanca.
The airline expects many of its passengers on these new flights to be first time visitors to Victoria Falls, who would otherwise not have been able to afford to travel to what is a popular holiday destination for Southern Africans. Supporting this expectation is research undertaken by the airline, showing that up to 40 percent of its passengers on all routes were first time flyers able to afford air travel for the first time, thanks to fastjet’s low fares.
“African consumers pay extortionate fares for regional air travel, especially to tourism destinations. The lack of real competition on many routes keeps prices artificially high, which can make air travel and exploring beautiful holiday destinations like Victoria Falls beyond the reach of many,” Lanca said.
“Affordable airfares will make it easier for more tourists and other visitors to travel to Victoria Falls, which in turn will boost tourism and contribute significantly to the region’s economic growth,”he said.
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