Budget airline 1time has concluded a joint venture agreement that will see the launch of Zimbabwe’s first low-cost air services. The joint venture is with Nu-Aero (Pvt) Ltd, a registered Zimbabwean company trading as 'Fresh Air'.
As part of the initial agreement, 1time will cease its current Livingstone route in favour of flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, via Harare, as of September 2012. The flights will subsequently become a Fresh Air operation. The JV encompasses 1time utilising its fleet of aircraft to serve the route, while Fresh Air provides the licences to operate in Zimbabwe.
Further, both airlines will initially cooperate in a wide range of operational and commercial facets, including the provision of aircraft and crew, as well as administrative functions such as revenue management and revenue accounting.
Fresh Air and 1time have completed the Civil Aviation Authority regulatory demonstration flight from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg to Harare International Airport, before flying to Victoria Falls and then back to Johannesburg.
Blacky Komani, CEO of 1time Airline says that this newly found agreement with Fresh Air provides an opportunity for both companies to take advantage of the fact that Africa is the only continent where the low-cost carrier model is yet to take flight with regional destinations.
“Our partnership with Fresh Air is simple; we share our experience and infrastructure in the aviation industry while Fresh Air launches Zimbabwe’s first low-cost carrier, with licences to operate the underserviced domestic market and various regional routes to be announced in the near future. In doing so, Fresh Air are creating jobs and building a foundation for a sustainable business.”
Chakanyuka Karase, CEO of Fresh Air says that the airline’s entry into the market and strategic partnership with 1time will provide a real opportunity to stimulate domestic and regional air travel ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for Zimbabwe.
“The entry of a low-cost carrier in Zimbabwe has great potential, and we are proud to have launched into this partnership with 1time, who already has palpable successes in the no-frills market. We have absolutely no doubt that this business model will succeed as it is exactly what our emerging economy needs to maintain sustainability, and is an efficient way to connect families, businesses and tourist destinations.”
1time will have a short term dispensation to operate aircraft on the ZS register, while executing a migration to Zimbabwean registered and crewed operation. This process will be carried out within a year.
Komani concludes that the agreement ultimately furthers growth and development in Africa.
“Our joint venture not only demonstrates that we foster successful cross-border partnerships, but that together we contribute to regional growth in Africa by providing people with additional travel options at affordable prices.”