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African low-cost airline Fastjet has been forced to postpone its inaugural international flight due to “unexpected administrative delays”.
Its service from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Johannesburg had been due to launch today, but South African officials made a “very late” request for additional documents, the airline said on its website.
“Administrative delays of this nature are not unusual in the markets in which we operate,” Ed Winter, Fastjet’s chief executive, added in a statement.
Six flights – two scheduled for today, two for September 30 and two for October 2, have been cancelled. All affected passengers will be offered a full refund or seats on an alternative service.
The airline, which was co-founded by Sir Stelios Haji-Iaonnou, the easyJet entrepreneur, has ambitions to become the first pan-African low-cost carrier. It currently has a fleet of just three Airbus A319-100s, and operates within Tanzania, linking Dar es Salaam with Kilimanjaro and Mwanza; and Kilimanjaro with Zanzibar. Flights from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya are expected to launch on November 1, while future routes are likely to include Cape Town, Kigali in Rwanda, and Lusaka in Zambia.
Flights to Uganda and Kenya, and even transatlantic services, have also been mooted.
Following its launch, Mike Pflanz, The Telegraph’s East Africa correspondent, suggested that Fastjet could “open the continent’s skies to first-time fliers and cut costs for tourists currently hit with some of the world’s most expensive air tickets.”
“British tourists could soon combine safaris in Kenya with gorilla treks in Uganda and time on Zanzibar’s beaches in a two-week trip without excessive flight costs,” he added. “Such multi-country holidays in Africa have traditionally been restricted to backpackers with time to take cheap transport.”