Thursday, September 24, 2020

Airport renovations – the facts

Dear Editor,

I would like to refer you to inaccuracies that appeared in two articles about the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) in The Telegraph issue of December 9, 2009.

The first article (page10) “SSKIA completion to miss world Cup target” asserts in the first paragraph that CAAB is building a “Terminal II” at Sir Seretse Khama Airport. ┬áThis is false. There is only one terminal building. It is being built in two phases; Phase 1 and Phase II.

The articles further allege that the delay in the construction of the terminal building “will impact negatively on the relocation of the multi-billion pula diamond aggregation from London to Gaborone and the setting up of diamond exchange as it will stunt ambitions of long haul flights between Botswana and the rest of the world.”

The fact of the matter is that the delay in construction only applies to the terminal building. The runway, which was also under construction, has long been finished and commissioned as far back as mid-July 2009. In fact, the runway has always been in use even during construction, therefore, no air transport business or business of any kind that uses the runway has ever been affected as the article claims.

Further, the article says: “Botswana Government embarked on the renovation of its airports after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned of the safety risks of using Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and threatened to blacklist it.”

Fact: Sir Seretse Khama Airport has never ever been considered a risk and has never been under threat of any blacklist. Furthermore, IATA is an air transporters’ association. It monitors airlines and others in the air transport business. CAAB is an air transport regulator, not an airline; therefore IATA does not regulate CAAB.

The article alleges that “Keebine, one of the three remaining members of the Board revealed that the development they are faced with is at a teething stage.”

Fact: the Board of Directors of CAAB remains intact. It still has the nine members in place.

The second article, (page 3) “CAAB makes strides in developing aviation in Botswana”, which appears in the same issue says “several countries have expressed interest in having their Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) with Botswana regularized.”

The fact is Botswana has always stood by its air transport bilateral agreements with all of the countries it has such agreements with. None of these countries has ever called for these agreements to be regularized because they have never been revoked or tampered with in any way.

The article says: “The Zambian Government has also designated Zambia Airlines and CAAB is awaiting a formal request for its proposed start-up operation.” The fact is that the name of the airline is “Zambezi Airlines.”

Zambia has already informed us that it has designated the airline. However, the airline has not outlined its intention when it will start services by providing all the required details (Tariff, Schedule, etc.)

Please note as well that the CAAB is formally and legally referred to as an “Authority”, not a “Corporation” as the articles put it.

I would appreciate your publishing these corrections to not only correct the mistakes but to also educate your readership on the activities of the CAAB which plays an important role in the economy of Botswana.

Thank you

Dan Peke
Public Affairs Manager
Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana

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