Low-cost airline Fastjet on Friday confirmed it was in discussions with the Zambian government about its intent to establish a domestic airline business in Lusaka.
The airline stated that the Zambian economy provided a considerable opportunity, with a population of more than 14-million and significant regional trade links with its neighbours.
“There are a number of small, local airlines providing unreliable and intermittent services on domestic Zambian routes and there is strong evidence of a need for a dependable airline that can offer good value, high quality and regular sevices,” Fastjet said.
Key domestic routes that could be serviced by Fastjet included between Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone.
“Ndola, on the Democratic Republic of Congo border and in the centre of the copperbelt, is a key hub which is currently poorly served,” Fastjet said.
Currently, regional international routes were all provided by non-Zambian airlines with the key route from Lusaka to Johannesburg being served with seven flights a day by South African Airways and its associates, Fastjet said, adding that it was confident that fastjet’s market-stimulating pricing model would grow traffic on these routes substantially.
The business and political environment in Zambia is very progressive and Fastjet’s discussions to date with the Zambian government, Tourist Board and other stakeholders have been positive, the airline said.
“Highlighted during the talks have been the obvious benefits of a low-cost airline to the country and Zambian people, which include the expansion of trade and tourism links and the safety and reliability improvements which Fastjet will bring to the Zambian aviation industry.”
The new airline, while being distributed and marketed as a part of the pan-African Fastjet network, would be a Zambian-registered company in which Fastjet would have a substantial stake.
The airline would have country-specific branding and would provide employment opportunities to suitably qualified Zambians. Further, it would provide training facilities as appropriate to ensure that the airline grew and developed its Zambian roots and workforce, Fastjet said, adding that it was keen to engage with potential Zambian investment partners.
“Fastjet will progress its application for an air services licence and air operator certificate as rapidly as possible but this process is likely to take up to six months. In the meantime, it will be bringing its reliable, safe and great-value flights to the Zambian people on the Lusaka – Dar es Salaam route that was announced recently and has already recorded strong interest and sales,” Fastjet concluded.