Friday, July 10, 2020

KQ the biggest winner as Botswana, Kenya signs Air service deal

BY VICTOR BAATWENG

NAIROBI, KENYA ÔÇô Whilst a Bilateral Air service Agreement (BASA) signed recently by Botswana and Kenya gives national airlines of the respective countries equal chance to introduce direct flights between the two Africans, Air Botswana’s counterpart ÔÇô Kenyan Airways code named ÔÇô KQ seems to be the luckiest amongst the two.

The agreement, which was signed by Transport ministers of the respective countries here in Nairobi, Kenya during a state visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, is seen as the first step towards establishing direct flights between Botswana and Kenya.

Botswana’s transport minister – by Dorcus Makgato says BASA is a tool that set basis set the basis of what the airlines can do to negotiate.

“It will help Air Botswana and Kenya Airways to be in a position to negotiate”, said Makgato this week.

Despite BASA’s levelling of ground, early indications are that it will be Kenya Airways that will once again take it to the skies of the two countries soon as compared to the local national airline ÔÇô Air Botswana. The east African nation is said to have made it clear that it intends to resume its Nairobi ÔÇô Gaborone direct flights.

“Kenya Airways has committed to resume its services soon”, Makgato said.

Botswana’s national airline ÔÇô Air Botswana on the other hand is still battling to find its ground on scheduled flights ÔÇô both domestic and regional ones. As a result its chances of flying the Nairobi way soon are slim.

Given the AB inability, it will be KQ that will benefit more from BASA.

Infact Botswana’s President ÔÇô Mokgweetsi Masisi has thrown the ball on the court of the national airline.

“The agreement will allow for the resumption of direct flights between Gaborone and Nairobi operated by Kenya Airways. Air Botswana will see the extent to which they would tag into that by a way of complementing what Kenya Airways would be doing”, said Masisi at a press conference in the capital Gaborone, a day after his return from Kenya.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.