African budget airline start-up Fastjet launched its first flight today with a service between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza in Tanzania.

More than half the passengers on the Airbus A319 paid $20 excluding taxes and charges for their seat.

A second A319 on the airline’s second route from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania set off later.

Ticket sales on Fastjet’s first two routes are described as being “very strong” since sales began just over two weeks ago.

Seats are being secured well in advance by passengers with bookings into February 2013.

Chief commercial officer Richard Bodin said: “Today’s flights to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza mark the start of a new, revolutionary, smart way to travel for African people, and our first steps towards becoming a low cost, reliable pan-African airline.”

Fastjet expects a third A319 to arrive in Dar es Salaam next week and will publish monthly passenger figures on its website fastjet.com