Air Botswana Acquires New Planes To Expand Route Network

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Air Botswana has announced plans to expand its route network following the acquisition of more equipment in three new aircraft to be added to the state-owned airline’s fleet.

This was revealed by the airline’s General Manager, Lulu Rasebotsa at the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB)’s annual conference in Maun on Friday. 

Rasebotsa said one of the planes has already been fully paid for and should be delivered by the last week of June this year while for the other two, letters of intent have been issued to the supplier and may also be delivered before the end of June as well.

“We have already placed approval of the Namibian authority to fly Windhoek-Maun. We are speaking to the South African authorities to fly Gaborone-Durban direct as well as Mpumalanga-Maun,” she revealed.

Rasebotsa, who was appointed in December 2023 following the departure of former General Manager, Agnes Khunwane added that they will also be reinstating the Cape Town-Kasane as well as the Cape Town-Maun direct flights.

Meanwhile Rasebotsa has assured that the launch of the Addis Ababa –  Maun route by Ethiopian Airlines starting June 10 does not pose any threat to Air Botswana. “They will never swallow our national airline. In this industry the more the merrier which makes it good for competition and to the benefit of the customer,” the CEO allayed the fears noting that they are working hard to improve Air Botswana’s on time performance.

She added, “we are working tirelessly with my colleagues at Air Botswana to regain our national pride and we are also trying hard to PushaBW to give our tourists as they come into our country, a taste of Botswana.”

Still at the same conference, Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) CEO, Dr Bao Mosinyi also added that while the end goal is to see the return of Qatar Airways and Emirates flying to Botswana he is however pleased that the country has laid a good foundation and subsequently moved to the next phase of selling itself to such international airlines for them to fly home.

To further highlight this, he indicated that in the last International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit, Botswana scored 80.1% which is above both the African and World average ratings of 57% and 67% respectively. He added that the country has also been able to certify two of its international airports being- Sir Seretse Khama and Maun and the plan now is to certify Kasane sometime in May this year with Francistown to follow.

“Now with that, having a high rating from ICAO safety audit and having also certified our airports as per its recommendation, we can now confidently go all out to these airlines to talk about why they should fly to Botswana. That is where we are,” he stressed adding that CAAB has since engaged an international outfit to assist in improving the country’s international travels.

Meanwhile Dr Bao has revealed that plans are underway to construct a very high end lounge at the Maun International Airport dedicated for commercially important people. The idea according to him is to have the lounge open the day Ethiopian Airlines starts flying to Maun on June 10th.

“Maun is not like any other airport because most of the people who come here bring in a lot of money and they are used to being treated quite differently and they are happy to spend a lot of money to be treated differently. So what we will be constructing very soon is a very high end lounge not for VIPs, ministers and presidents but for commercially important people. Anybody who has the deep pockets to use,” he said noting that the idea is to have the guests also spend money in Maun instead of just landing at the airport and fly straight into the Okavango Delta as it has been the case.

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