Johannesburg, South Africa: African value airline fastjet has been named as the Leading African Low-Cost Airline 2019 by World Travel Awards for a fourth successive year. This is the second award fastjet has won in the past week after it was named Best Low-Cost Airline in Africa at the Skytrax Awards held at the Paris Air Show.
“Despite the challenging trading environment, the fastjet team has continued with resilience and unwavering resolve to deliver the very best on-time performance and value-driven air travel to our customers,” said fastjet Group CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. “On behalf of fastjet, I would like to thank our valued customers for their overwhelming show of confidence in our brand and I would like to thank the Skytrax and World Travel Awards teams for the acknowledgement bestowed on fastjet which supports us in our journey to be internationally recognised and locally respected.”
Fastjet’s network punctuality this year ranks amongst the Top 20 African carriers with a 90% on-time aggregate. The fastjet brand covers Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa, connecting local and international travellers to onward flights supported by their interline airline partner arrangements with Emirates and Qatar airlines from Harare, Maputo and Johannesburg respectively.
Fastjet has undertaken several strategic decisions in the past year, notably the re-evaluation of the Group business by country of operation. During 2018, the Group disposed of its stake in the Tanzanian holding company, ending the funding of the Tanzania business in its entirety. Fastjet’s focus on the Group success resulted in the decentralisation of the Group’s commercial and financial management structures, ensuring effectiveness is being attained in each business and resulting in a stronger balance sheet for fastjet.
Fastjet Airlines Zimbabwe, the country’s only major private domestic carrier, continues to pursue localised spend through local supply chain elements in Zimbabwe. The airline re-established the Call Centre services as an insourced operation and relocated the operation from Cape Town, South Africa to the airline’s hub in Harare in January 2019. The recent changes in the monetary policy of Zimbabwe has allowed the airline to introduce ticket sales in both RTGS and USD currencies. The airline has achieved positive market share growth during the year with up to four daily return flights from Harare to Johannesburg, double daily flights from Harare to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, and a new seasonal schedule for travel between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg. “Maintaining a favourable flight schedule for those travellers planning a memorable experience to the iconic Victoria Falls,” said Bezuidenhout.
In October 2018, fastjet exercised its option to purchase Federal Airlines. Fedair offers travellers the options of both shuttle and charter services to a variety of destinations including Sabi Sands and the Kruger National Park. “The acquisition of Fedair will allow operating synergies to be achieved.” Bezuidenhout added.
Fastjet Airlines Mozambique has completed its first year of operations, having commenced in November 2017. To compete effectively and profitably, fastjet has made use of its commercial agreement with the state-owned airline of Mozambique, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique (LAM), introducing their inaugural codeshare agreement on the Maputo to Beira, Quelimane and Tete routes and providing travellers with a wider choice of schedule and convenience. “The Board of fastjet continue to monitor this market, adjusting our strategy to best suit the market conditions of Mozambique,” said Bezuidenhout.
Fastjet’s stabilisation plan, which commenced in 2016, has successfully strengthened its business. The Group continues to build brand equity and boasts one of the largest social media followings of an airline on the African continent. The encouraging performance and progress of fastjet presents a favourable position for the Group to pursue geographic expansion across the African continent.