Air Botswana and Puma Energy last week commissioned two refuelling trucks to complement Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA)’s ground fuelling equipment, in a development that was hailed as a landmark example of public private partnerships. The project was a result of collaborative efforts by government through Air Botswana and the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) on the one hand and Puma Energy on the other.
Puma Energy hailed the addition of the two refuellers, one with a capacity of 65 000 litres and the other 20 000 litres, as an indication of growth in its aviation services. The addition of the newly acquired fleet is expected to enhance operational efficiency at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA).
Puma Energy General Manager, Mahube Mpugwa said at the launch that the acquisition of the two refuellers will improve turnaround time as it will enable his company to fuel larger aircrafts.
“The new refuellers will address the issue of time as they will deliver fuel to larger aircraft in half the time it took the older equipment. The new trucks will greatly reduce downtime and enhance reliability. As the main supplier of fuel and lubricants to the local aviation industry, Puma Energy is rightfully investing in improving its service delivery by refurbishing its refuellers and storage facilities,” said Mpugwa.
The launch of the SSKIA fuel trucks comes after another high-end storage facility was launched in Maun Airport in 2013. The program of refurbishment of facilities will be extended to other sites, namely Francistown and Kasane, to further improve service delivery to customers.
“Our role in the industry cannot be underplayed. Developments such as these will inevitably benefit our partners in the aviation sector, in that our improved efficiencies will have a domino effect on theirs as well,” said Mpugwa.
The two refuellers were acquired at a cost of P5 million, and they will enable Puma Energy to fuel larger aircrafts within scheduled turnaround times. The two trucks will halve refuelling time by 30 minutes. Mpugwa revealed that the 65 000 litre refueller was custom-made in France and delivered the beginning of May while the smaller one was manufactured in Cape Town. He further pointed out that Puma Energy will continue to invest in its infrastructure.
“In 2014 we commissioned a new fuel facility at Kasane international airport and we are currently engaging the CAAB on the upgrade of the same facility at Francistown international airport. It is our hope that our small but significant investments will contribute towards a larger national agenda of demonstrating that Botswana is ready to do business with the international community,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo commended Puma Energy for its outstanding contribution to Botswana’s aviation sector. He further recognized the partnership between Puma Energy and Air Botswana.
“In aviation, fuel is one of the most important resource. Therefore it is vital to ensure that its delivery is done timeously, safely and affordably. Air Botswana and Puma Energy are doing a commendable job in keeping up with evolving market trends and customer needs,” said Mabeo.
He also commended Puma Energy for its growth in the aviation sector, saying the company has established itself as a key player in the global air transport industry as it grows to meet both local and international market demands.