Fastjet has announced plans to introduce flights between Dar es Salaam and Mombasa later this year, marking yet another competition threat for national carrier Kenya Airways.
The low-cost carrier, which on Monday launched flights from Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), also said it plans a Zanzibar-Nairobi flight by the end of the year.
The route expansion is expected to step up competition for KQ, which currently operates flights to Mombasa and Zanzibar from its Nairobi base and also for its Tanzanian-registered associate Precision Air, which also flies to Zanzibar from the JKIA.
“Fastjet expects to add more flights to its new Kenyan routes as consumer demand increases. It expects to launch flights between Zanzibar and Nairobi as well as Dar es Salaam and Mombasa later in 2016,” the airline said in a statement.
A return flight by KQ to Zanzibar (departure on January 18 and return on January 22) is going for Sh25,595 while that by Precision Air, in which KQ owns 41.23 per cent, is going for Sh41,106.
Fastjet is operating its Tanzania-Kenya flights through a Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries, one that would also allow them to add the Mombasa and Zanzibar routes.
This is in line with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) open sky policy that came into force in 2010, which involves giving flying permits to airlines from foreign countries.
“Fastjet is interested in affordable point to point service and not on creating a hub,” Jimmy Kibati, Fastjet general manager for East Africa, said in an interview. “If there is customer demand for a new route, we shall introduce it.”
A price comparison done by the Business Daily a week ago indicated that Fastjet was/is charging Sh27,390 for a return flight to Dar and Sh20,790 to Kilimanjaro.
Passengers are charged between Sh220 and Sh2,200 for a pre-assigned seat, Sh1,650 for checked-in luggage of up to 20 kilogrammes and Sh3,000 for food and drinks ordered during the flight.
A KQ return trip on the same dates showed that a passenger travelling to Dar pays Sh31,485 but this has since dropped to Sh28,015. A to-and-fro trip to Kilimanjaro is Sh31,915.