29 January 2013

Tanzania: Air Travellers to Buy Tickets Via M-Pesa

AIR passengers travelling on the domestic low cost airline, FastJet, can now buy their tickets using the M-Pesa money transfer system.

Vodacom said that it has partnered with FastJet, as the first company in Tanzania to offer a mobile payment solution for air travel with the airline.

Unveiling the service in Dar es Salaam, the Head of Branding and Communication for Vodacom Tanzania, Mr Kelvin Twissa, said the launch of this service brings together their mobile money transfer system with the low-cost airline.

This is yet another indication that Telecom firms are positioning themselves for the next major source of revenue, which is the use of mobile services as a medium to transfer money. The FastJet Commercial Manager for Tanzania, Mr Jean Uku, said that by joining forces with Vodacom, they were bringing together two companies to offer an easy, and convenient way to buy FastJet tickets that will make air travel even more accessible for the tens of thousands of Tanzanians that FastJet has already brought to the skies.

She said that since its launch at the end of November 2012, FastJet has flown well over 30,000 passengers between Dar es Salaam and its two current destinations of Kilimanjaro and Mwanza. According to her, they would be announcing new routes to international destinations in the coming weeks.

Mr Twissa said Vodacom's M-Pesa service was launched in 2008 and today has more than 4.5 million active customers with over 1trn/- transacted through the service every month. Africa is now the second largest mobile market in the world, with more than 620 million mobile users.

Over the past 10 years, the number of mobile connections in Africa has grown an average of 30 per cent per year and was forecast to reach 735 million by the end of 2012, he said. In such an arrangement, the key beneficiaries of the service, analysts say, will be travellers who will have their travel booking tools literally at their fingertips, saving them both time and money that would have been spent on commuting to buy air tickets. It was not clear yesterday as to whether they intend to recruit more airlines into the service.

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