Friday, September 27, 2013

The inaugural International route for Fast Jet temporarily postponed

Ninety passengers who were scheduled to travel from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday aboard the low cost airline- Fastjet had their dreams shattered after the airline suspended the flight at the eleventh hour. The cancelation of this international inaugural flight for the airline was due to unexpected administrative delays prompted by failure of the South African government through its department of Transport, an official of the airline has said. Speaking in an exclusive interview, the airline’s Chief Commercial officer Richard Bodin said when visited in his office in Dar es Salaam yesterday that, South Africa government failed to work on time the already sent administrative documents. He said, the documents necessitated the process of issuance for the permission to use the Dar-J’burg route. However, he noted that Tanzanian government through Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) had issued their permit since June this year. He said although Tanzania delivered their document without delay, the South African Department of Transport has said that, “it will take several days to process them, thus delaying the start of fast jet flights on this international route”.  He said this postponement is very disappointing and contrary to their expectations bearing the fact that, they had already passengers booked for the journey adding that, unfortunately however, the administrative delays of this nature are not unusual in the markets in which airlines operate. However, he said that, despite of this abrupt cancellation and delay of documents, they do not expect to have any material effect on the financial performance of their company in Tanzania. In view of this, he said Fast jet would like to apologise to its customers for the inconveniences caused noting that all passengers affected by this delay will receive a full refund and assistance with re-booking a complimentary seat to fly within the next month. The Guardian yesterday witnessed some of the passengers being refunded with their money they had booked with some of them complained that, ‘they had no alternative except to make their booking reservations with other airplanes.  

Fast Jet Chief Commercial officer Richard Bodin explaining a point to journalists (not in the picture) when visited in his office yesterday in Dar es Salaam, seated on his right is the company's PR and Marketing Executive Lucy Mbogoro. 

He stated that, having complied with all the requests made of them and secured all the necessary licenses and permits in an extremely diligent and timely fashion, Fast jet was led to believe that it was fully on-track to launch this route yesterday as planned earlier. “Launching flights on this route remains a key priority for Fast jet, and we are confident we will be operating on this service by mid-October, starting a new era of choice for passengers who continue to suffer inflated prices on flights between two of Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities” he said. Flights between the two cities will initially be operated by Fast jet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, increasing in frequency as soon as consumer demand dictates. Meanwhile, Bodin explained of the current development which the company has taken so far in line of business expansion for the domestic routes in the country. He said that, Fast Jet will soon open another domestic route for Mbeya and Songwe respectively in November this year. He said the route will cost cheaper as currently in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro airports respectively. However, he said and added that, since they started operation, about 97 percent of their customers have appreciated their operation as most of them used the flight for the first time. In another development he said that, his company has spent about $240,000 for the last six months to train six Tanzanian pilots in UK since they entered in business in the country. He said however, that the move is to develop local pilots whom they have recruited. Fast jet has been on an incredible journey since we started flying domestically in Tanzania with a single A319 plane nearly 12 months ago between Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, and Kilimanjaro at a cheapest low price of $ 20 (Sh. 32,000).

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