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Fastjet airline cutting routes

Fastjet airline cutting routes

The new regime at Fastjet under Nico Bezuidenhout is now at a stage that major decisions and action are taking shape, all aimed to have the airline show a profit sooner rather than later.

First came the news that the company headquarters will be moved from London Gatwick to Johannesburg to save costs, which according to reliable information, will see some key individuals leave the airline at that time.

That was followed by a review on fleet requirements and the decision to gradually phase out the Airbus A319, in principle a perfectly good aircraft but arguably too large to profitably operate on a number of routes in Tanzania as well as regional and international routes. A leased Embraer E190 has already joined the fleet and aviation pundits are closely monitoring when additional such smaller aircraft will join the fleet, all of course subject to regulatory approvals and amendments in operating licenses.

Now, late yesterday, confirmation was received that Fastjet in Tanzania will, effective December 5, halt flights between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe and on the same day will also halt flights between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. It is not clear at this time if these flights will resume when the new and more cost-effective smaller aircraft have joined the Fastjet fleet, not vis-a-vis any timeframe for such changes nor vis-a-vis a principle decision on operating the routes in the future.

In Zimbabwe, also effective December 5, the route from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg will be suspended, compelling tourist visitors from South Africa to fly either via Harare or else via Livingstone across the border in Zambia.

In a related development, Fastjet was also once again hit with a bird strike, rendering one of their aircraft in Tanzania unserviceable and leading to the cancellation of several flights. Updates on a return to full scheduled services will be available on the Fastjet website.

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