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African low-cost carrier Fastjet has decided to embrace GDS-distribution to grow its fledgling business, according to one of its senior executives.
The carrier, which started operations in East Africa in late 2012, revealed its fares and inventory would very soon be available to travel agents around the world thanks to two separate agreements.
A deal with Skyscanner gives users a direct connect link to the airline’s website.
Perhaps more significant is Fastjet’s tie-up with German technology and distribution firm Hahn Air, which will push fares through to travel agents connected to Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport GDSs around the globe.
Until now, 18% of Fastjet's bookings were made by travel agents in Africa, with the other 72% made on mobile phones, in branches or on the airline’s website.
Ellis Cain-Jones, fastjet's head of commercial, said it working with the GDSs was always part of the airline’s international growth strategy.
“We have understood and been successful in local market pricing and distribution opportunities in our African markets.
“We now want to export Fastjet on an international or regional basis. It means giving travel agents in Europe [and elsewhere] the opportunity to book our flights."
Cain-Jones said the airlines lowest fares would be preserved for African customers. Fastjet charges as little as $20 for some flights out of its Tanzanian base, while seats on its Johannesburg-Dar es Salaam service come in at around $100.
He said he believed customers in Western markets could afford to pay higher prices but would still enjoy a valuable service. This, he explained, would cover the cost of GDS distribution.