Budget airline, Fastjet Zimbabwe Friday took delivery of a new 50-seater aircraft, an Embraer ERJ145 registered Z-FJH which made its inaugural flight Between Harare and Bulawayo.
The additional aircraft is part of Fastjet’s continued commitment to the Embraer aircraft family.
The ERJ145 offers capabilities that are compatible with the Zimbabwean and South African regional market needs and offers a comfortable cabin environment with generous legroom seating and excellent operational performance.
Fastjet board chair Advocate Farai Mutamangira said the airline remains optimistic about servicing its set routes despite COVID-19 having had a negative impact on the aviation industry.
“We are seeing the outlook beyond the pandemic. We are also motivated by Government’s response to the outbreak. Look at the rate at which we have accelerated the vaccination of our population, the Government has done its part and as the private sector, we need to complement that by doing our part,” he said during the launch of the aircraft.
The introduction of the new aircraft, he said, will add more convenience to travellers in the country and beyond the region.
“Fleet renewals and additions are things that airlines do on a constant basis especially when the base dictates that there is a boom. So we are very happy to be adding this new baby to the fleet and we think that it is going to add more convenience, comfort and more connectivity to the various destinations within the country as well as in the region,” Advocate Mutamangira added.
He further appealed to the government to avail bailouts to the airline as the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered operations and made it difficult for airlines to remain operational.
A Fastjet Spokesperson said, “We are pleased to be adding another Embraer ERJ145 aircraft to our Zimbabwe-based fleet. As we continue to contribute towards the growth of the Zimbabwean economy and tourism industry this aircraft type is popular with our customers on destinations across our network. The additional aircraft will expand Fastjet’s capabilities and open up new market opportunities, something we remain committed to as we emerge.”
Airports Company of Zimbabwe board chairman Dave Popatlal applauded the airline for its continued efforts in providing quality flying service to the country and highlighted its contribution to the economy.
“This initiative will ignite other players in our flying fraternity. Citizens especially those from industry and commerce should be happy. They have the possibility of also getting international connecting flights from Harare and also from Victoria Falls.
“Victoria Falls is becoming a hub of international travelling with companies like Lufthansa now flying directly,” he said.
Fastjet connects three major cities in Zimbabwe by flying between Harare and Victoria Falls and Bulawayo as well as linking these destinations with Johannesburg. Going forward, the airline plans to serve more routes in the region.
The director for policy planning in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Allowance Sango heaped praise on Fastjet’s service delivery.
“We have seen how they are registering their fourth aircraft in Zimbabwe and as the Government we continue to provide the relevant infrastructural support,” he said.
“We are aware that movement and connectivity are not about planning within a confined sector, we look at inter-mode transportation, road, rail, air as well as inland waters.”