Qatar Airways, one of the world’s much sort after airlines will not return to the local skies anytime soon, but the government agency responsible for regulating the aviation sector will not take any of it yet.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) has made yet another move towards Qatar, but this time asking it to atleast set up a cargo business in the country.
CAAB communications Manager Modipe Nkwe said that it has never been in doubt that Botswana wants to lure back the international airliner adding that all stakeholders in the country are working closely to ensure the return of the aircraft.
The authority, according to Nkwe, has since furnished Qatar Airways management with a proposal seeking to convince the company to refresh its business relations.
“The negotiations are ongoing and nothing has been concluded but now the decision on how they view business rests with them because we have done our part this side,” he said.
Nkwe said that CAAB had to look at all the available options to have Qatar airways back but now the most important thing is to look into the amount of cargo that can be exported.
“As you know that we have the Botswana beef that can probably be transported through the aircraft,”
Nkwe stated that even though their plan is to retain the airliner, they are however not fully focused on Qatar alone adding that they are hard at work to entice other international airlines.
The CAAB mouthpiece indicated that other sectors of the economy stands to be engaged on how they can possibly penetrate the United Arab Emirates markets as this could increase the amount of cargo to be exported.
He stated that there is still enough big space to accommodate international flights adding that Sir Seretse Khama International Airport can handle Boeing 747 or an equivalent aircraft while the other three, Maun International Airport, Kasane International Airport and PG Matante International Airport have a capacity to handle Boeing 737 or an equivalent.
“Furthermore, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport can handle 976 passengers during peak hours, while PG Matante can handle 650. At peak hours, Maun International Airport can handle 500 passengers, while Kasane can handle 230,” added Nkwe.
Nkwe added that roping back Qatar airways will not benefit a selective few sectors but more job opportunities are likely to come out from the deal.
“I do not think there is anyone who is not concerned that such a big aircraft has left our skies in a short time but we could not sit down and hope that they return, we had to put together a proposal so that they can look into and see potential in Botswana,” added Nkwe.