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easyjet founder launches budget African airline

The new budget African airline, fastjet, is being backed by the easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and is set to launch its first flight later this week.

The inaugural flight from Dar es Sallam to Mwanza in north-western Tanzania will depart at 6 am local time on Friday 30th November, marking a new dawn for air travel in Africa. A second flight will take off later that day from Tanzania’s largest city to Kilimanjaro International Airport on the country’s northern border. The nearby Kilimanjaro National Park is a major tourist attraction and could significantly benefit from the low fares carrier.

The airline has a limited number of routes flying to those two destinations, both of which are in Tanzania. Mwanza lies on the border of Lake Victoria within easy distance of the Serengeti National Park. The fastjet fleet will initially consist of three Airbus A319s which will be based in Dar es Salaam. The airlines team will be made up of 35 pilots, 65 cabin crew and seven maintenance specialists.

The low-cost African airline describes itself as ‘ambitious’ and the ‘first-pan continental airline’ that will bring ‘international standards of safety, quality, security and reliability.’ Fastjet's chief executive, Ed Winter, a former director of easyJet under Haji-Ioannou, said:

“At the moment, getting around is incredibly difficult. Put in a reliable service and people will want it. We'll be bringing travel to people who don't even dream of flying." Possible future bases will include the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, as well as Ghana and Angola. However, it is not clear when this will happen. "It takes a long time in Africa to work beyond the bureaucracy and the politics, but the vision is a network across Africa," Winter added.

One-way prices to both Mwanza and Kilimanjaro start from 32,000 Tanzanian shillings (£12.50), excluding government taxes. The low-cost airline model is based on the hugely successful European low fares carrier easyjet. Regardless of where you are planning to travel to, it is always advisable to book travel insurance.

Date Created: 27 November 2012

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