On a continent where an underdeveloped transportation infrastructure has long hindered economic growth, a virtual constellation of airports in Central East Africa might well warrant some reason for optimism. A 600-mile-long “Equator Cluster” of airports around Lake Victoria, in Entebbe, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya; Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; and Kigali, Rwanda, all support the growth of aviation traffic in the East African region.
Dar es Salaam
Styling itself as “Africa’s first pan-African low-cost carrier,” Fastjet certainly looks like an airline in a hurry. Having opened its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, only late last November, it now plans to launch operations in Kenya, Angola and Ghana this year, starting with five Airbus A319s it aims to acquire during the first six months of its expansion and 15 within a year. It also hopes to benefit from the wreckage of South Africa’s low-cost sector with its pending acquisition of defunct 1Time Airline.
Among the big jets filling the ramp at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the small green and yellow ATR twin turboprops of Tanzanian regional carrier Precision Air Services feel quite at home. Seven times a day they land and take off to carry passengers to all the principal destinations in neighboring Tanzania, serving both business and leisure markets and proving a perfect match for equity partner Kenya Airways.