Botswana is in the throes of realizing the vision to transform itself into a regional transport hub with the efforts of the improvements at the various airports in the aviation sector.
This was said by the newly appointed Minister of Transport and Communication, Nonofo Molefhi, when opening the Africa Aviation Safety Council (AFRASCO)’s annual general meeting in Gaborone on Tuesday.
Molefhi said the government intends, through the aviation sector, to develop to full capacity Botswana’s tourism sector and her trade routes in an endeavor to achieve economic growth.
He added that for that to succeed, Botswana’s government has promulgated legislation to ensure compliance with international standards and recommended practices of the international Civil Aviation organization.
“Despite the recent events involving serious aircraft accidents, we in Botswana take aviation safety and security very seriously,” said Molefhi.
He stated that the Civil Aviation Act and the Aviation Security Act introduce a new era of aviation compliance and enforcement by the Civil Aviation authority of Botswana, (CAAB).
Molefhi also said that passing the Safety Management Systems (SMS) for all operators, in accordance with Annexes six and eight of ICAO, is another development that is fully implemented.
“The AGM takes place a month after the opening of new the Francistown International Airport and the new Maun airport runway. It is our hope that that SSKIA will be fully operational in the next few months,” he said.
Molefhi also revealed that there are also plans to carry out improvements at Kasane International airport, Ghanzi, Tsabong and Hukuntsi airports. He added that the developments resonate well with the government’s goal of turning Botswana into a transport hub in Southern Africa, considering the strategic location of the country in the region.
“Sub Saharan Africa has generally lagged behind in the advancement of aviation safety compared to the rest of the world,” said Molefhi.
For her part, Air Botswana General Manager, Shakile Reiling, said the theme for the AGM of the African Aviation Safety Council, ‘Advancing Aviation Safety in Africa’, is in line with discussing specific aviation safety measures that remain topical and extremely important. She stated that the industry is faced with a lot of challenges with needs to be addressed.
“Improving safety lies within individual capacity to prioritize the major element of skills development, and leveraging of new technology in aviation for commercial activities,” she said.