Friday, July 19, 2024

Botswana lures bigger airliners as liberalisation takes shape

It seems bigger things are coming to Botswana’s tiny aviation industry as government and regulators are in discussion with a number of international airliners to use Botswana routes.

This also comes at a time when Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) expansion project is coming on stream with bigger and better facilities.

Frank Ramsden, Transport and Communications Minister, revealed on Friday that Botswana is currently in discussion with a couple of airliners.

“We are talking to Britain, but they have turned it down because they previously operated here and were not impressed by the facilities,” said the minister.

Other bigger ones include Air Mauritius, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.

British Airways (BA) used to operate the direct route to London, but left.

Already, Kenya Airways and South African Airways (SAA) had jumped to the occasion as they had introduced routes from their respective countries.

SAA last year introduced the Airbus jet to service Johannesburg-Gaborone return route while Kenya Airways partnered with Air Botswana for the direct route for the Nairobi route.

The decision by SAA to service the Johannesburg-Gaborone route is a direct competition to South African Express (SAX), which is also a South African government airliner.

The two are giving the traditional monopoly Air Botswana (AB) a direct competition.

Last year, the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) hosted Delta Airlines of the USA, who came to inspect the new airport.

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