Old rivalry rekindled as AirZim takes on fastjet on the Harare-Dar- es Salaam route
AIR Zimbabwe (AirZim) will introduce two weekly flights into the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam from May 14, taking on low cost operator fastjet, which has established itself on the route after starting flight in 2014.
The Harare-Dar es Salaam route would be the third regional destination for the airline, which already operates flights to Lusaka, Zambia, and Johannesburg in South Africa.
In a statement released last week, AirZim said it would be flying to the east African capital midday on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with return flights in the evenings.
“With effect from 14 May 2016, the national airline will be resuming operations for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,” AirZim said on Friday, unveiling a US$400 return ticket, free tickets for every five people travelling together and “generous baggage allowances”.
The east African capital has recently become an strong attractions for airlines and road transporters after a booming informal trade in second hand clothes and cars, which arrive on its port from overseas destinations.
The consignments are then shipped into southern African economies from there, a situation that has triggered high demand for transport services.
Once one of Africa’s leading air passenger carriers, AirZim has been struggling to return to its former status.
It has been affected by an ageing fleet, prolonged labour disputes and failure by its major shareholder, government to recapitalise the debt ridden former giant.
It was briefly grounded in 2011 before return into operation late 2012.
It immediately embarked on a programme to reintroduce flights on its traditional destinations starting with Johannesburg.
In June last year, AirZim reintroduced its Harare-Lusaka flights, four years after leaving the route.
In Dar es Salaam, it will compete with fastjet, which has been offering fares starting from US$50 for a one way trip, and will resume their old rivalry in the skies.
There is fierce competition for passengers between the two airlines on the Harare-Victoria Falls route, which fastjet entered last year.
On the domestic front, AirZim flies daily from Harare to Bulawayo.
It also flies daily to Victoria Falls from Harare, while it operates three weekly frequencies on the Harare-Kariba-Victoria Falls route.
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