U.K.-based fastjet wants to be the first discount pan-African carrier, and it has partnered with Emirates airline towards that goal, allowing passengers of the Dubai carrier to buy tickets in East and Southern Africa, according to a report in TheNational.
Fastjet is a British holding company for a group of low-cost carriers that are operating in Africa, or hope to be. It operates fastjet Tanzania and received a licence Wednesday for fastjet Zimbabwe. There are plans for fastjet Zambia to launch this year.
Its strategy is to create locally incorporated airlines that operate using a common branding, operational standards and sales platforms.
Emirates is boosting its presence in Africa as the U.A.E. becomes a more popular base for multinational companies, TheNational reports. UAE’s trade and investments with Africa have grown in recent years.
Fastjet passengers will be able to fly on the Emirates network via Dubai.
There are several advantages for Emirates to partner with fastjet, according to Will Horton, an analyst with Centre for Aviation.
“There is the opportunity to have a wide reach with one brand rather than have to sign and manage agreements with distinct carriers in each country,” Horton said. “There’s no need to look for a partner in Tanzania and another in Zimbabwe since fastjet has a base in both. As Fastjet grows with four more bases, the deal can be expanded. It has the potential to be very scaleable.”
As of October, Fastjet has service to the following destinations, according to its website: Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This isn’t the first deal of its kind for Emirates in Africa. In August 2014, the airline signed a partnership agreement with Nigeria’s Arik Air, opening up new routes throughout Western Africa.
Emirates’ sister airline, Flydubai, is also keen on the African market, TheNational reports. The low-cost carrier launched its first route to Djibouti in 2009 and now flies to 13 destinations in Africa including Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
The Australian carrier Quantas is also looking for ways to expand its partnership with Emirates, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Reuters
Fastjet warned investors last month that it would post losses in 2015, citing depreciation of the Tanzanian shilling against the U.S. dollar, poor performance of the commodities market, and turbulence from Tanzania elections.
The first fastjet Zimbabwe flight is scheduled to launch Oct. 28 2015, with the first route to Victoria Falls. Inaugural fares will cost $20 one way through November, according to TheHerald.
“Fastjet Zimbabwe’s aim is to make air travel more accessible than ever before, with many of our passengers expected to be first-time flyers who would otherwise not have been able to afford to travel by air,” said Ed Lanca, director of flight operations at fastjet Zimbabwe.