FastJet eyes bus travellers with low-fare model
Posted Thursday, October 25 2012 at 21:44
- Fly540 also got approval to introduce the larger Airbus A319 to its fleet. FastJet chief commercial officer Richard Bodin spoke to the Business Daily on the sidelines of a media workshop in Nairobi recently.
Budget carrier FastJet has announced that it will continue operating in Kenya using the Fly540 Air Operating Certificate as it prepares to take on Kenya Airways’ Jambo Jet.
However, the airline will operate as FastJet in Tanzania where it will launch the FastJet brand in November.
FastJet’s low-cost model is expected to be a competitor to Jambo Jet, which is expected to be launched before the end of the year after obtaining a licence from Kenya Civil Aviation Authority earlier this month.
Fly540 also got approval to introduce the larger Airbus A319 to its fleet. FastJet chief commercial officer Richard Bodin spoke to the Business Daily on the sidelines of a media workshop in Nairobi recently.
When will your company start operations in Kenya? Will you fly as Fly540 or FastJet?
In Tanzania, the 540 brand will close down once we launch in a couple of weeks. In Nairobi, for a period of time both brands will exist because there were some operational issues of flying an A319 in some destinations that Fly 540 flies to.
For some time, both will operate alongside each other. We have seen strong brand equity in some markets, so we will not change the brand, immediately.
What about in Ghana and Angola?
I have an aspiration to start before summer next year, there is no time line now. In Angola, we are facing a regulation hitch. There is a restriction that only TAG (the national carrier) can use equipment with a capacity higher than 96. We are talking to the authorities.
What about competition in the market with Kenya Airways looking to launch Jambo Jet? Can we expect a price war?
The consumer will win and collectively we will stimulate the market. We can see us growing the market together. We have set the lowest price at a level that will attract new passengers.
The plane seat capacity also allows us to set ticket prices at different buckets.
Our lowest price is $20 (Sh1,700) and it will remain that. We are not interested in a price war just to meet our load factor. Our average price will be $80 (Sh6,800).
Being a low-cost airline are we likely to see some job cuts as you streamline systems and implement the model in the existing business?
No, we are looking to grow employment opportunity. Increase local people and talent in the region.
We shall bring skilled people to train. In Tanzania, we shall increase the staff to about 150. In Kenya, we don’t have an accurate figure yet.