Competition on regional air routes in Africa has started to heat up with the entrance of a number of new entrants in the low-fare market over the past few months. Industry experts believe the new entrants could considerably drive down regional airfares in Southern Africa.

The South African low-fare carrier FlySafair took to the skies on Oct. 16 with the launch of services between Cape Town and Johannesburg and between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. With regular fares starting as low as about $45 between Cape Town and Johannesburg and about $36 (including taxes) between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, FlySafair is positioning itself as South Africa’s first true low-fare flyer.

Following best practice principles of other international low-fare airlines, FlySafair charges passengers a base rate that secures a seat on the flight and permits travelers two pieces of free carry-on luggage (one bag and one personal item) weighing no more than 7kg (about 15 pounds) in total. Extras such as meals, check-in luggage, prebooked preferential seats or extra-space seats such as those in the front rows or at emergency exits are extra.

Regionally, Fastjet has vowed to also bring down fares. The airline flies from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Johannesburg, South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Entebbe, Uganda, and is also in the process of establishing a Kenyan operation. The airline was named the cheapest low-fare carrier in Africa and the fifth-cheapest worldwide in a recent survey by the flight-comparison site, WhichAirline.com.

Lastly, Flyafrica.com commenced services between Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and Johannesburg on Aug. 1 and will begin services between Harare and Johannesburg on Nov. 1. The carrier also announced it is looking into Namibia as the next step in its pan-Africa low-fare strategy. It is launching daily flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek, Namibia, in February and is planning to add connections between Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in the near future.

“Namibia Flyafrica is a key part of our strategy to build airlines in Africa that will combine low fares with global standards of safety and quality,” says Adrian Hamilton-Manns, Group CEO of Flyafrica.com. “Namibia Flyafrica is the newest member of the Flyafrica.com family and is part of our roll-out plan to introduce multiple airlines across Africa operating under the Flyafrica.com brand.”

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