flyafricaBudget airline Fly Africa is expected to grow its market share to 20 percent of the Zimbabwe-South Africa route in 2015, up from 12 percent last year, an aviation report has claimed.

The low-cost carrier based in Zimbabwe, which commenced operations in July 2014, currently competes against South African Airways (SAA), Air Zimbabwe and British Airways franchise partner Comair on the Johannesburg-Harare and Johannesburg-Victoria Falls routes.

A new report by Centre for Aviation reveals that Fly Africa is significantly attracting more customers due to its low prices ranging from $34, one-way excluding taxes, or about $172, return when including all taxes, on South Africa-Zimbabwe routes.

This compares favourably with traditionally high prices of $400 or more for a return ticket including taxes – although flights are less than two hours.

“The Fly Africa share of capacity in the South Africa-Zimbabwe market will increase to about 19 percent in March 2015, giving it a significant stake in South Africa’s third largest international market after the UAE and UK – based on seat capacity,” reads part of the report.

SAA has four Zimbabwe-South Africa routes in total as it also offers four weekly regional jet flights from Durban to Harare, a route that Fly Africa also has been considering.

According to the survey, SAA has a leading 44 percent share of seat capacity in the South Africa-Zimbabwe market compared to 23 percent for Air Zimbabwe, 21 percent for British Airways/Comair and 12 percent for Fly Africa.

Centre for Aviation also highlighted that Fly Africa has the capacity to eat into SAA’s monopoly on regional routes.

“Assuming it is able to launch Windhoek-Johannesburg-Lusaka and Windhoek-Cape Town, Fly Africa will have broken through on six of SAA’s regional routes.

“Inevitably this will impact the South African flag carrier, which in recent years has been turning consistent profits on its regional international operation while other aspects of its business have struggled,” said Centre for Aviation.

This comes after Fly Africa Country Manager, Mati Karase, recently said his organisation was planning to introduce 11 regional routes this year as part of the airline’s expansion programme.

The targeted routes include Harare-Lusaka, Harare-Dar es Salaam, Harare-Lubumbashi, Johannesburg-Windhoek, Victoria Falls-Kilimanjaro and Victoria Falls-Cape Town, among others.

From : Zimeye.

11 January 2015