Airline fails to start new Harare-Gabs flight

Fast Jet failed to start operations in Botswana
There is currently no airline servicing the Zimbabwe-Botswana route after the British airline that was issued with the licence to operate the route failed to start operations.

According to the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Isaac Moepeng, Fast Jet failed to start plying the route last year due to economic reasons as well as delayed sourcing of suitable aircraft to be used on the intended route.

“The licence was initially issued on the 19th January 2016 valid for one year to 18th January 2017. The airline has indicated their intentions to renew its licence,” he said.

Fast Jet Airlines is a British based holding company for a group of low cost carriers founded in 2011 operating in Africa.

They do have subsidiaries with Fast Jet Zimbabwe, Fast Jet Tanzania, and Fly 540 Sociedade de Aviacao Civil in South Africa. Fast Jet currently operates in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

Late last year Air Botswana announced that they have suspended the Gaborone-Harare and Gaborone-Lusaka route, as part of their plans to enhance schedule rationalisation for the upcoming summer period. Moepeng said Air Botswana made the decision in accordance with their business model and decided not to renew their licence.

Air Botswana was flying the Gaborone-Harare route three times a week. Meanwhile, about five airlines have been granted traffic rights into Botswana, which include Air Namibia, South African Express (SAX), South African Air

Link, Ethiopian Airlines as well as Air Services.

Air Namibia operates Windhoek, Gaborone, Durban, Victoria Falls, while SAX operates Johannesburg-Gaborone route and South African Air Link operates Cape Town, Maun, Johannesburg and Gaborone routes.  Ethiopian Airlines operates Gaborone, Addis Ababa and Victoria Falls routes.

Commenting on the criterion that is used to grant traffic rights, Moepeng explained that an airline designated by its government to serve on a particular route would be granted traffic rights whenever it submits an application to operate.

“Botswana skies are fully liberalised as the country is practising an open skies policy, which means that there is no protection for the national airline to operate exclusively in the scheduled domestic air transport market.  Any operator with the financial muscle and competence can enter and compete in the scheduled air transport market in Botswana,” he said. Botswana has adopted the African Union Commission’s decision of the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly.

 The Commission was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015, and focussed on the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro decisions on liberalisation of air transport markets in Africa (1999).

The event also marked the establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market that came into effect in January 2017.




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