The newly created Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) has reportedly made strides to assume full control of Botswana’s aviation industry, with job positions being filled and bilateral agreements being signed with major airlines from around the world.
About 272 vacant job positions are expected to be filled by the end of the first financial year in March 2010. By the end of November 2009, a total of 68 positions at the CAAB were already filled.
According to Chairman of the CAAB board, Keebine Gobusamang, this constitutes about 42% of the set target in the CAAB business plan. The corporation recently conducted interviews to fill an additional 36 vacancies which were advertised externally. The process ended on November 17th after commencing on the 23rd of October this year.
It is expected that another batch of 168 vacancies, which were advertised both internally and externally, will likely raise the recruitment bar up to exceed the set target in the business plan.
CAAB became a legal entity and instigated full operations on the 1st of April this year after taking over from the former Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
CAAB inherited assets from the Department of Civil Aviation, including several airports which are currently undergoing extensive refurbishment and expansion as well as replacing air navigation facilities.
CAAB now manages about 6 airports from different parts of Botswana, among them the Sir Seretse Khama Airport (SSKA), the Maun, Kasane, Francistown, Selebi-Phikwe and Ghanzi airports as well as 18 other secondary airfields. The 6 airports are currently under construction.
Some employees under the former DCA were seconded to the CAAB.
Meanwhile, several countries have expressed interest in having their Bilateral Air Services (BASA) with Botswana regularized.
The giant Arab entity, United Arab Emirates, also negotiated a deal with Botswana in 2005. According to Gobusamang, a request has been sent through diplomatic channels and an agreement is to be signed in December 2009.
Qatar Airways also negotiated an agreement with Botswana in February 2007. Botswana has allegedly proposed for the formal signing of the agreement to be sometime in December.
Kenya Airways has already started operations between Gaborone and Nairobi after approval from CAAB.
The two airlines, Air Botswana and Kenya Airways, have entered a commercial agreement through which they code share on the 3 return flights between Gaborone and Nairobi.
The Zambian government has also designated Zambia airlines, and CAAB is awaiting a formal request for its proposed start-up operation.
Steps are being taken to sign an agreement that was negotiated with Tanzania in 2003.
South Africa will be revisiting the already signed BASA sometime in February next year.