Friday, June 18, 2021

Gov’t to spend P2bln on refurbishment of Maun and Kasane airports

Government is set to spend over P1 billion to construct and refurbish airports structures in Botswana’s tourism hubs of Kasane and Maun. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) said Monday that government will spend close to P800 million to construct a new terminal at Maun airport. The airport has a rich aviation history because of the thriving tourism industry in the area, which accounts for a majority of landings and take-offs. The Maun airport is being upgraded in phases; and two phases have so far been completed. 

CAAB Public Relations Officer, Modipe Nkwe told The Telegraph on Monday that out of the P1billion that has been budgeted towards the refurbishment of Maun and Kasane airports , the former will get the biggest chunk of P800 million which will be used to construct a new terminal building. Modipe said the refurbishments are meant to make the two airports more user-friendly and boost the tourism sector. 

“After refurbishment, the new Maun airport terminal will be able to accommodate large aircrafts like the Boeing 373 or equivalent classes, a development that will boost the numbers of tourists who visit the Okavango Delta,” said Nkwe.

Additionally, he said, the refurbishment will spark other spin-off businesses like restaurants and shops which will in the end create employment for residents.

“We believe developing the Maun airport will induce tourists’ inflows from Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, thereby contributing to a rise in revenue and foreign exchange earnings,” said Nkwe.

The project will also enable Botswana to offer services to larger markets, as the local tourism industry is currently facing stiff competition from neighboring countries which are able to fly tourists to competing tourists’ destinations like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia.

On the other hand, refurbishment of the Kasane airport will cost P280.8 m. The project will include construction of an air traffic control tower as well as refurbishment of a fire station and a technical block. Over the years, Kasane has slowly turned into a popular tourist town both regionally and internationally. The airport currently serves Maun and Gaborone through Air Botswana. At the same time, it acts as a gateway for tourists to the region and stimulates other tourism activities in the Chobe area. The refurbished airports will enable government to generate income from landing fees, parking fees, passenger charges, rental of commercial spaces and the hangars.

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