Taking advantage of space afforded to them by the demise of Air Uganda, FastJet, which is emerging as Africa’s low cost airline out of its hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is launching flights between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe.
And you will not believe the price – US$50 or Ush140,000 for a one way ticket before Government taxes. Government taxes in this case will be responsible for that price going up but it must be said that Fastjet’s offer is out of this world.
Government taxes are not clear for an easy computation but for a return ticket, the tax component for a return ticket between Entebbe and Dar es Salaam and vise versa today stand at between $150-$200. Entebbe will be fastjet’s fourth international destination and the new route will be the only direct air link between the two African capitals. Anyone travelling to Dar es Salaam today from Uganda by air uses Kenya Airways or Rwandair meaning they stop-over in either Nairobi or Kigali.
Precision Air was the only airline that offered Ugandans and indeed anyone wanting to travel to Dar es Salaam, a direct flight until they suspended operations into Entebbe for unclear reasons.
According to a statement from fastjet, tickets for the new route went on sale yesterday with fares starting from US$50 one-way, excluding airport and government taxes.
Flights are planned to start on 16 September, and will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first weeks of September, increasing to four flights a week from 29 September.
fastjet says that since Air Uganda ceased flying, the fares offered by other carriers for flights in and out of the country have risen steadily.
The Chief executive and interim chairman Ed Winter said: “We believe the launch of this route, the only direct air link between Uganda and Tanzania, will stimulate new business and tourism traffic in Uganda. “fastjet is delighted with this opportunity to enter the Ugandan market and the support it has received from the Ugandan government and authorities. We very much look forward to commencing flights and hope this is the beginning of a wider fastjet network from Entebbe.”
There is no doubt the move by fastjet should benefit Uganda’s expanding tourism sector as visitors will be able to easily connect between Tanzania and Uganda to be able to go and see the famed Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi not to mention the other variety Uganda offers as a destination. The entry of fastjet brings into sharper focus the need for the revival of Uganda Airlines if tourism is to grow and Uganda can recapture its lure as a top tourist destination.
Imagine a Uganda Airlines whose number one deliverable is to attract tourists to the country with ticket pricing to specific destinations attractive to the frequent travelers.