LOW cost-airline fastjet Zimbabwe has collected an estimated $2,7 million in airport taxes and fees from its passengers on behalf of the Government since it started flight operations in 2015.
The airline began flight operations in October 2015, flying passengers in its Airbus A319 aircraft from Harare to Victoria Falls three times a week.
In a statement, fastjet Zimbabwe said it would continue working closely with the Government in its ongoing investment plans and collaborating with all parties concerned to build an airline that will create jobs and develop the aviation sector in the country.
It is envisaged that this will impact positively on the growth of the Zimbabwe economy.
"Just one example of the impact that affordable air travel can have on the Zimbabwean economy is the approximate $2,7 million figure in airport and Government fees and taxes that fastjet Zimbabwe estimates it has collected from its passengers on behalf of the Zimbabwean Government and the airports that it flies to and from," read the statement.
Since its launch, the airline has flown over 125 000 passengers on 1 678 flights over a distance of more than 1,3 million kilometres with an impressive 94 percent on-time performance, establishing itself as a punctual, reliable, and affordable low-cost carrier.
At present, fastjet Zimbabwe has 32 flights per week to and from Harare, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls with the destinations continuing to be at the heart of the airline's operations and thus furthering the airline's vision to stimulate the Zimbabwean economy, connecting families and friends, as well as boosting tourism.
The airline's chief executive officer, Mr Nico Bezuidenhout, was quoted as saying: "Fastjet Zimbabwe has built a loyal fan base in Zimbabwe because we made air travel more accessible than ever before with reliable, on time and affordable flights. Many of these 125 000 passengers were first time flyers who — because of prohibitively high fares — could previously not afford to travel by air," he said.
Mr Bezuidenhout added that fastjet had a shared goal of increasing the number of business and tourism travellers into Zimbabwe.
"We understand it is a collective effort by all stakeholders concerned and we are committed to our responsibility of assisting to build a positive image of Zimbabwe," he said.
The airline employs close to 50 people directly involved with the airline, with many more working in secondary services supporting it.
In the past six months, fastjet Zimbabwe has been busy implementing a strategic business plan that has yielded significant financial benefits.
"This focus included a review of the frequency of flights on specific routes, the actual routes flown, and an evaluation of the fastjet Zimbabwe fleet, covering the size and type of aircraft operated," it said.
Meanwhile, fastjet Zimbabwe has suspended its under-performing route between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg and is evaluating the possible transition from its Airbus A319 aircraft to a smaller, more fuel-efficient Embraer E190 aircraft.