fastjet to start two new routes from Zimbabwe this July
fastjet is to begin two new routes from this July: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to both Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and Nelspruit, South Africa. Nelspruit is a new airport for the carrier. While Victoria Falls – Bulawayo has had Air Zimbabwe for many years, Victoria Falls – Nelspruit is a new route. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, which uses MIDT data, only 2,400 flew Victoria Falls – Nelspruit last year, but it will, of course, be stimulated from non-stop service and lower fares. Fellow African airline, FlySafair, also announced a new route this week.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Aircraft||Direct competition (WF)|
|Victoria Falls – Bulawayo||6 July 2020||3||Embraer 145||Air Zimbabwe (1); B737-200|
|Victoria Falls – Nelspruit||6 July 2020||4||Embraer 145||None|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.|
fastjet’s turbulent existence
fastjet’s challenging existence resulted in its ‘stabilisation plan’ in late 2016 and into 2017. This involved cutting unprofitable routes, right-sizing markets, replacing A319s with Embraer 190s and 145s (it now only has E145s), cutting costs, increasing revenue per seat, improving load factor, and, ultimately, attempting to be financially secure.
All hope now on Zimbabwe and South Africa
The impact of its stablisation plan is clear from its total seats, which fell from three million in 2016 to 1.8 million a year later. This was mainly from big cuts in Tanzania, with seats there down 51% or 1.2 million YOY. fastjet always revolved around Tanzania, but it has now eliminated service there. Mozambique was to be a core part of the airline, with 435,000 seats in 2019, or 44% of its total that year, but service ended late last year. Hope is now all on Zimbabwe and South Africa. Including its two new routes, it will have just six routes, all by Embraer 145s. In the current week, Harare – Johannesburg is its most-served route, with 10 weekly departures, around three times fewer than during ‘normal’ times.