Fly Africa Enters Byo-Joburg Route

Fly Africa, a new budget airline, will next month start plying the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route, in a development that will pose stiff competition for Air Zimbabwe and South African Airways (SAA) which have already been flying that route at much higher fares.SAA has daily Bulawayo-Johannesburg flights; while Air Zimbabwe flies the route three times a week. Significantly much cheaper than the current competition, Fly Africa’s Bulawayo-Johannesburg daily flights will cost US$178 return compared to SAA’s US$760 and Air Zimbabwe’s US$380 for the same route.
“With fares from US$39, the launch of Bulawayo links all main Zimbabwean cities to Johannesburg with our special brand of low fares and great service,” Fly Africa said.
Mati Karase, the country manager for Fly Africa told the Financial Gazette this week that Bulawayo was an important part of the airline’s 19 routes which would be rolled out this year.
“We are seven months in our infancy, but are here for the long haul,” said Karase. “I can confidently say that we have no competition, as no other operator does low cost operations… However, we feel that there is room for improvement and part of this is the need to begin to speak to the market and educate people on the benefits of low cost travelling.”
Plans are afoot by the budget airline to spread its wings into the rest of the region this year with routes planned into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
Fly Africa will also launch a daily service for its Victoria Falls route to Johannesburg from the current three times a week from July 1.
“Finally, Victoria Falls moves from our current Monday, Wednesday and Sunday flights and becomes a daily flight from July 1 – meaning you can enjoy fares from US$39 every day of the week.”
Fly Africa, is a partnership between the Karase family’s Fresh Air and Mike Bond of the now defunct One Time of South Africa. The airline began operations in August last year. Fly Africa’s entry into Zimbabwe’s skies is likely to prove a headache to the struggling national airline, Air Zimbabwe, which is bedraggled by millions of dollars in debt and an obsolete fleet. The budget airline is already making inroads into the traditional strongholds of the national carrier and since December last year has been flying the Harare-Victoria Falls route, which has been a cash cow for the ailing parastatal.
In November last year, Fly Africa launched an inaugural Harare-Johannesburg flight and charges US$89 for a single trip, taking the fight to SAA and British Airways which also services the route. Its fleet includes a Z-FAA which it used in its maiden entry for the Victoria Falls- Johannesburg route and Boeings 737-500. At the same time as it launches its Bulawayo-Johannesburg route, Fly Africa will launch a Windhoek to Johannesburg flight.