FlyAfrica (Z7) was a relatively short-lived low-cost African airline. The airline is now based in Harare, Zimbabwe but they had previously had several South African investors and ties to Fresh Air.
Their previous CEO Godfrey Banga had no prior experience in the aviation industry. They also appointed New Zealander Adrian Hamilton-Manns as Project Leader following his two year stint at SAA as Head of Network Planning and Distribution. Matipedza Karase wass their country manager in Zimbabwe. He is the Co-founder and Group Chairman of the Nu-Group of companies and has previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Fresh Air.
Launching their first route between Vic Falls and Johannesburg on the 23rd of July 2014, they grew their route network significantly in a period of just over a year before they started experiencing difficulty. Problems with their air operating license in Namibia and a fraudulent partner in Zimbabwe seems to have been the airline's undoing. Although the airline has stated multiple times that this is not the end for them, their extended leave from the sky has significantly damaged passenger trust.
29 January 2018: It's been more than a year since FlyAfrica Zimbabwe announced plans to relaunch flights to South Africa. Now the airline says they hope to launch flights within three weeks after their foreign operator permit is renewed. They say they'll start with daily flights between Johannesburg and Harare, but hope to up their flights to thrice daily by the 1st of March 2018. In addition to this they will launch flights between Johannesburg - Bulawayo and Cape Town - Harare. They confirmed that fares between Johannesburg and Harare would start from $100 (approx. R1200) and flights between Bulawayo and Johannesburg would start from $170 (R2050*). Agents and passengers would be unlikely to trust this airline again after their closure in 2015 left hundreds of passengers out of pocket.
23 September 2016: FlyAfrica Zimbabwe announced that they will restart operations in October 2016. The airline now operates independently and is under new management and ownership, with Blessing Munyenyiwa and Meklas Munyaradzi appointed as CEO and COO respectively. Cassidy Mugwagwa, FlyAfrica chairperson, explained that regulatory issues prevented the airline from restarting operations in May this year, but that they are ready to restart operations this time around. The airline is now based in Harare, Zimbabwe and hopes to have flights between Harare - Joburg and Harare - Bulawayo operational in November 2016. Not content with just launching regional flights, Cassidy has said the airline hopes to offer flights between Harare and London from June 2017.
FlyAfrica started with the Johannesburg - Victoria Falls route and soon added a few extra routes. The airline is based in Zimbabwe but plans on expanding to other African countries.
Johannesburg-Victoria Falls (Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays)
Johannesburg – Bulawayo
Johannesburg-Windhoek (Feb 2015)
Johannesburg-Lusaka (TBC 2015)
Cape Town-Windhoek (TBC 2015)
They are starting out with an initial fleet of five Boeings 737-500. This caters for 12 business class seats and 102 economy seats.
Fly Africa are also speeding up the check-in process by making you select your seat at the time of booking. If you don’t have any check-in luggage you can completely skip the check-in counter at airports other than OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. You can thus check-in at the boarding gate at any of the other airports.
They are combatting high airfares by promising to never add fuel surcharges to their airfares. In an effort to further reduce costs, their base fares do not include checked baggage (ie the same structure as Fastjet). If you want to travel with checked luggage it is charged additionally either at the time of booking at a reduced fee or at the airport. You have the choice of either buying 20kg or 30kg of checked luggage and can upgrade at check-in or pay per kilo that you are over the limit. The maximum checked baggage limit is 32 kg. You can also pay for a second carry-on bag as long as it still weighs under 7 kg.
Flyafrica.com has several tablets that you can hire during your flight for entertainment purposes. In-flight meals are not included in the base fare and can either be pre-purchased or bought on-board.
Fly Africa's lounges aren't only limited to business class flyers as anyone with a ticket can purchase access to these and travel in comfort.
28 April 2016: FlyAfrica Zimbabwe announced recently that they will rebrand and relaunch as new investors back them. Under the name flyafricazim, they hope to establish a pan-African airline operating similarly to FlyAfrica. They plan to launch a Johannesburg - Harare route from mid-May already and hope to follow with internal Zimbabwe flights. In order to lease new aircraft, reservation support, web support and online marketing the company bought Airconnect, who had previously been hired to do the same for FlyAfrica Zim. The airline plans to launch subsidiary airlines in four countries over the next two years, each of which must be self-sustaining. We wonder whether Comair might have made an investment in the airline, which would explain their statement last week.
12 February 2016: Acting CEO Michael Duncan has expressed that the airline hopes to resume flights between Johannesburg and Harare, possibly by today as they are in posession of a valid air operating certificate. Richard Bodin, cco of fastjet, has sympathised with the airline, saying that it can take up to three years to acquire a license to operate a route in Africa, citing politically influenced processes as the main cause. Other problems are caused by legacy carriers whose whole structure are threatened by low cost airlines. There is no update on when FlyAfrica Namibia will take off.
9 February 2016: FlyAfrica's previous CEO Adrian Hamilton-Manns has left his position at the airline. Michael Duncan has replaced him. They did not release any further information on the airline's current status.
20 November 2015: FlyAfrica Zimbabwe announced that they have finally won their lengthy court battle and will hopefully resume flights on the 24th of November 2015, after nearly a month of being grounded.
They still need to get their bank accounts unfrozen so that they can continue with the refunds and start taking new bookings.
No news on when FlyAfrica Namibia flights will resume.
15 November 2015: Both FlyAfrica's Zimbabwe and Namibia flights has been cancelled. The second date given for flights to resume has come and gone, this time they have extended the date for flights to resume until the 19th of November 2015.
Judging from their social media following, the airline will have to offer clients more than cheap flights to instil trust after they have offered so many false reports already.
3 November 2015: The airline's ongoing troubles with their fraudulent Zimbabwean partner and the CAAZ has resulted in them having to cancel their flights between Harare and Johannesburg, Bulawayo and Johannesburg and Victoria Falls and Johannesburg up to and including the 4th of November 2015. Although talks with the Zimbabwean authorities are underway, they felt like they could no longer leave passengers feeling so uncertain. Passengers affected can submit for a refund, either themselves or through their travel agent. The airline is optimistic that flights will resume on the 5th of November 2015. Please note that this does not affect FlyAfrica Namibia's fligths.
28 October 2015: It emerged yesterday that FlyAfrica Zimbabwe's operations has been temporarily suspended. A fraudulent partner illegally and unilaterally attempted to surrender their Air Operating Certificate (AOC) with CAAZ following confrontation by the airline.
FlyAfrica is in dialogue with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) and anticipate restoring normal flight schedules from Friday 30th October. In the interim passengers will either be accomodated on alternative aircrafts sourced from their partners or offered a full refund where no alternative is possible. It has to be noted that FlyAfrica has in the past handled similar situations with dignity, quickly making alternative arrangements for their passengers before resolving the issue.
Review by Marita Spowart on 2015-08-03: " I Flew from Johannesburg to Harare. I had heard of Fly Africa and decided to try them out. It was Value for money for the distance and flying time. The flights both ways were on time and comfortable. I went to visit my elderly parents in Zimbabwe. Overall it was a good experience, I will definitely recommend Fly Africa to everyone. " Rating 5/5
Review by T.M Nenzou on 2015-06-02: "I flew with the airline recently and to be honest, it was one of the easiest and most comfortable flights ive ever been on. we didnt feel the turbulence and the in flight crew was very helpful. However they need to review the prices of the luggage, i had extra !%kg and they charged me $100 and that is a lot of money." Rating 4/5
Review by Denise Sealy on 2015-06-01: "We used your airline Flyafrica for a return trip from Harare to johannesburg. we have nothing but praise for the wholwe concept. Keep up the good work, making flying more affordable for all. Our only complaint is your website, it is impossible to use, we finally gave up and visited your offices. We are not the only people complaining. In my family alone my son, daughter-in-law and grandaughter have all tried on seperate occasions to acsess the website and given up. Keep up the good work. Much appreciated!"Rating4/5 /p>
11 September 2015: It has been less than a week since FlyAfrica's first flight between Namibia and Johannesburg took off, and now all flights on this route have been cancelled. Air Namibia made an urgent application to the High Court which subsequently found that FlyAfrica is not in possesion of the correct operating licence. FlyAfrica hopes to resolve the matter soon and plans on restarting operations between Joburg and Windhoek to Lanseria airport. In the meanwhile they are acommodating passengers affected on BA flights. They hope to launch Windhoek - Cape Town flights in October 2015.
29 August 2015: FlyAfrica announced that they are launching operations in Gabon in November 2015. "Gabon has been one of our primary projects because it opens up all of French West Africa,” said Flyafrica ceo Adrian Hamilton-Manns.
FlyAfrica also announced the introduction of "Connect", a domestic product in Gabon. They will only begin international flights from Gabon in April 2016.
FlyAfrica's future plans include flights to Europe and Saudi Arabia. They hope to add 10 new countries over the next year.
6 August 2015: After a lengthy court battle, FlyAfrica Namibia is finally launching on the 2nd of September 2015 with flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek. Flights on this route will reportedly start from R299* p.p. excluding taxes. "We have been frustrated and angered that our airline has been dragged through court simply to stop travellers from saving money," says Namibia flyafrica ceo Clifford Strydom.
CEO Adrian Hamilton Mans has also confirmed that the airline are considering starting a domestic FlyAfrica service in Namibia. "What we'll be doing in Namibia is a completely new project to operate low-cost flights.That company would be jointly managed with Namibia-based Bay Air Aviation (Windhoek Eros) and operate under a completely different name and with different planes from Namibia Flyafrica.” We can't wait to what savings they have in store for us!
22 June 2015: FlyAfrica has cancelled a number of their services in Zimbabwe and the airline has also reduced its service between Victoria Falls and Harare. The airline has however said that services between Harare and Victoria Falls will resume in August, in time for the Zimbabwe holiday period. The following flights have been cancelled: Flight Z7 168 between JNB & Bulawayo and flight Z7 171 from Bulawayo to JNB. The flights will be cancelled on the 4th and 6th of June respectively. Flight Z7 132 between JNB & Harare and flight Z7 137 between Harare & JNB will also be cancelled on June 7. The airline has also reduced their service between Harare and Vic Falls from seven flights a week to 3 flights a week. There will now only be flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
1 June 2015: FlyAfrica Zimbabwe has added three new routes to their scheduled service. The airline will start flying between Harare (Zimbabwe) & Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare – Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) 6 times a week from the 27th of July 2015. They will also start operating one daily return flight between Harare & Lubumbashi (DRC).
16 March 2015: FlyAfrica's Johannesburg - Windhoek route was originally delayed for two weeks after the Civil Aviation Authority failed to give final approval before the scheduled start date, the 2nd of March 2015. Yesterday, the 15th of March 2015, FlyAfrica announced that they will postpone these flights for a further six weeks. Adrian Hamilton-Manns, FlyAfrica Group CEO didn't want to elaborate which country's Civil Aviation Authority has caused the delay, but said that they are only waiting on official confirmation. South Africa's Civial Avition Authority is famously difficult when it comes to allowing new airlines into our air space, but it might as well be the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority who is causing the delay. Adrian added that it won't necessarily take another six weeks to obtain the licence, but that this a precautionary measure to prevent clients any further inconvenience. They will offer passengers a choice between a full refund or a FlyAfrica voucher worth double the fare initially paid. Clients booked on one of the cancelled flights could also contact FlyAfrica themselves.
15 January 2015: FlyAfrica has announced plans to launch flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls as well as flights between Cape Town and Kilimanjaro later this year. They have also applied for an Air Service Permit to operate flights in South Africa, but Adrian Hamilton-Manns has said that if they are unable to make progress they will move on from the idea. The reported R50-fare between Cape Town and Joburg might just be a pipe dream.
13 January 2015: The Sunday Times reported this week that FlyAfrica will be setting up a base in South Africa this year, with an eye on operating on the Johannesburg - Cape Town route. The airline's CEO, Adrian Hamilton-Manns, told the newspaper that they will offer flights on this route at a cost of only R50 for a one way flight. The airline did not say if the price excluded or included taxes or when they plan on launching flights on this route. When they launched their Johannesburg - Vic Falls route, their marketed opening special price excluded taxes. We believe that if we did see the R50 one way flight become a reality then it will be a short lived opening special which excludes taxes. Various sources have claimed that billionaire Ivor Ichikowitz is the main funder behind the airline but this has not been confirmed by the airline. FlyAfrica's South African Director, Mike Bond, declined to respond to the newspaper's questions about the claims that Ichikowitz was financially involved in the airline. The Chief Executive Officers of South Africa's three low cost carriers Kulula, Mango and FlySafair have said that R50 JNB - Cape Town flights are unsustainable. If Hamilton-Manns stands by his word of R50 for a one way flight then the low cost market in SA is set for a real shake up, but we aren’t getting too excited just yet.
05 January 2015: After a shaky start on their first route between JNB and Vic Falls, FlyAfrica now operate flights across Southern Africa. The airline now offers flights to Bulawayo, Cape Town, Harare, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and Windhoek. The airline will be adding more routes in 2015. The airline will be adding flights to Beira (Mozambique), Durban, Kilimanjaro, Livingstone, Maputo, Luanda and Lubumbashi. FlyAfrica has launched two airlines, FlyAfrica Namibia and FlyAfrica Zimbabwe in 2014 and will be launching 3 more in 2015. FlyAfrica seems to be on the up, let’s hope the airline will keep on expanding throughout the year.
Deceber 2014: Clifford Strydom, the CEO of Namibia FlyAfrica said that existing airlines have been charging way too much for flights between these destinations. With fuel prices at a four year low they believe that clients should be charged less for flights between these destinations. When the airline starts flying between Joburg and Lusaka their route network will grow to 8 destinations. The airline is working on rolling out a 3rd affiliated African carrier which will join Namibia FlyAfrica and Zimbabwe FlyAfrica under the FlyAfrica brand. Group CEO of FlyAfrica, Adrian Hamilton-Manns, said that the next expansion from Zimbabwe FlyAfrica will be announced within the next 24 hours. Keep your eyes here, we will be the first to let you know about this exciting new venture.
27 November 2014: In a recent letter sent to Travel News Weekly (TNW) by FlyAfrica’s CEO Adrian Hamilton-Manns, the CEO says that legacy airlines are “hiding” the true cost of their airfares from customers. He says that fuel supercharges are used by legacy airlines as a way to display low airfares to clients but they then add fuel supercharges later as a “tax” to get the fare up to their desirable rate. He says that the fuel supercharge has nothing to do with the fuel, it is merely used as a means to hide the true airfare from customers. FlyAfrica proudly boast that they have never and will never charge fuel supercharges. They say that they believe in transparency in pricing and they believe that supercharges should be removed.
19 November 2014: FlyAfrica recently announced that they will be competing with Air Namibia on its South African routes and since then speculation has been mounting about whether Air Namibia will be able to compete with FlyAfrica's low fares. Clifford Strydom, Chief Executive Officer of Namibia flyafrica, said, "The enthusiasm for our low fares has exceeded all our expectations. The existing carriers have charged too much for too long and their high fuel surcharges have not been reduced – even with the price of fuel at a four-year low." Air Namibia has hit back saying that hey offer a five star service and that competition is always a good thing. We wonder if Air Namibia will still feel that way in a couple of months? In our experience people always choose to save a few bucks on flights.
11 November 2014: Zimbabwe FlyAfrica have announced that they will start flying between Johannesburg and Bulawayo from the 2nd of March 2015. The airline will also launch Zimbabwean Domestic flights between Vic Falls and Harare, with the first flight taking off on the 1st of December 2014. Namibia FlyAfrica will also be launching flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek with airfares starting at R799* for a one way flight between the two destinations. The first flight to Windhoek will take off on the 2nd of February 2014. (*excluding taxes, price is subject to change).
10 November 2014: Namibia Flyafrica have announced that they will start flying between Johannesburg and Lusaka, Zambia from the 9th of March 2015. They will also start flying between Windhoek and Cape Town from the 16th of March 2015. FlyAfrica has released special opening airfares for these routes with one way flights between Johannesburg and Lusaka starting at R699* and at R899* for a one way flight between Cape Town and Windhoek. (*limited availability, subject to change. Excluding taxes).
5 November 2014: FlyAfrica is giving away return flights for 2 on FlyAfrica from Johannesburg to Vic Falls plus 2 nights’ accommodation sharing, with all meals included. The winners will also get to go on 2 game activities which could be a boat cruise, nature walk or game drive. The winners will stay at the exclusive Victoria Falls River Lodge. All you need to do is subscribe to their newsletter and you will automatically be entered into the competition. Entries close on the 15th of November 2014
29 October 2014: FlyAfrica will compete with SAA on the Johannesburg – Harare route from the beginning of November. SAA currently operates 21 flights a week between the two cities. Currently SAA ask around R4000 – R5000 on average for a return ticket but FlyAfrica believes that customers should not be paying more than R3000 for a return flight between JNB and Harare. The airline is currently competing with SAA on the Johannesburg – Victoria Falls route. The country manager of FlyAfrica, Mr. Matipedza Karase said that the airline currently operates on a 45% to 55% capacity on the JNB - Vic Falls route. FlyAfrica is the only low cost carrier operating on the JNB – Vic Falls route and they will be the first low cost carrier operating on the Harare – Johannesburg route as soon as they start flying on the route in the beginning of November.
28 October 2014: Only 6 more days to go before FlyAfrica will start flying between Johannesburg and Harare!
18 September 2014: Flyafrica have announced that they will be expanding their operations from the 3rd of November 2014 by adding flights between Harare and Joburg. Tickets will go on sale from the 22nd of September 2014. This new route will be FlyAfrica’s second after they started flying between Joburg and Vic Falls about a month ago. The airline has launched an opening special of R399* for a one way flight between Harare and Johannesburg. Despite the false start that the airline had a month ago they seem to be going from strength to strength.
12 August 2014: FlyAfirca have teamed up with Zimbabwean tour operator Gateway Tours to offer clients travel packages at a competitive price. When you book a flight on the FlyAfrica website you will get access to the Gateway Tours packages which you can choose from. With this joint venture it seems like FlyAfrica is settling in for the long haul!
5 August 2014: FlyAfrica's first flight eventually took off on the 1st of August 2014 after what must have been a frustrating two weeks for the airline. It seems like the airline is now operating as planned after their first successful flight was delayed. The plane was scheduled to take off at 09h00 but only took to the air a couple of hours later, landing at Vic Falls in the early afternoon of the 1st of August. We hope that they have learned from these small hiccups and mistakes and that they become a highly successful airline.
25 July 2014: Following the cancellation of their inaugural flight on the 23th of July 2014, FlyAfrica had to cancel even more flights as their issues with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has not been resolved. The flights on the 25th, 27th and 30th of July 2014 have all been cancelled. This comes after the CAAZ decided to cancel the airline’s South African pilots’ validation to fly at the eleventh hour. Passengers who will be affected by the cancellations will be given the option of flying on a different airline on the same day that they would have travelled or they can fly with FlyAfrica at a later date, all changes will come at no additional cost. In a statement the airline said that it is unclear to them why the CAAZ revoked their validation to fly, but they will be working closely with the CAAZ to resolve all of the issues. Every affected passenger will be offered a free flight with FlyAfrica.
24 July 2014: FlyAfrica’s inaugural flight that was scheduled to take off yesterday was cancelled after the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) decided to revoke the airline’s South African pilots’ validation to fly. The airlines CEO Adrian Hamilton-Manns says that passengers who were affected were booked on the British Airways flight. They will also be given a credit to fly for free on another flight in the future. Hamilton-Manns had the following to say regarding the decision that was made by the CAAZ: “The CAAZ requirements are currently unclear. We’re working on resolving this issue as soon as possible so that our Friday flights will not be affected. We were excited about the launch of our scheduled services and now we feel deflated.” It is not clear who is to blame here, all we know is that this is not a great start for the airline who promised to revolutionise the Southern African airline industry.
16 July 2014: Fly Africa showed off their aircraft over the weekend to impress the Zimbabwean and South African Aviation Authorities. The airline conducted demonstration flights to make the authorities happy. The Civil Aviation Authorities of Zimbabwe and South Africa inspected aircraft workshops and checked the validity of ground and air licences. The officials also inspected aircraft maintenance certificates, looked at the condition of safety equipment and tested on board safety procedures. On all accounts Fly Africa seemed to pass with flying colours on all of the checks. The first of their three flights a week between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls will take off on the 23rd of July 2014.
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