Maun Airport Services

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Last year, I wrote an article noting my concern about the lack of touristic services in airports of Botswana. These services include lounges, shopping, eateries and many others. This is specifically so at international airports such as Maun International Airport, Kasane International Airport, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and PG Matante International Airport. I argued that these are international airports in Botswana, but they are not appealing – especially the passenger terminals.

At the last HATAB conference in Maun in the last two weeks, the Chief Executive (CEO) of CAAB noted some improvements on all the four (4) international airports. These improvements include those at Maun International Airport where a restaurant and a lounge will be opened. The CEO went on to mention the accreditation of the airports.

For Maun International Airport, he noted that a study or a recommendation is to be made either to relocate the airport elsewhere or to improve the current airport especially the runway which cannot accommodate bigger aircrafts. These are welcome developments as pronounced by the CEO of CAAB. However, if I had powers, I would recommend the relocation of Maun International Airport outside Maun to about 40-70km along the Francistown-Maun road where a new airport with all the necessary services and facilities will be constructed.

Maun Airport should cater for the needs and services required by tourists clients that pass through the Airport into the Okavango Delta. These are mostly up-market clients who include millionaires and billionaires. Passengers at airports are classified as business or leisure, scheduled or charter, originating or destined, and transfer or transit.

Business travellers tend to pay significantly higher fares, and airlines usually wish to provide a high quality of service to attract them. At Maun Airport, we are not doing enough to meet the needs of the passengers at passenger terminals. Providing the necessary services and facilities will not only result in meeting the needs of clients visiting Botswana but will result in the creation of jobs and increased revenue remaining in the country.

Airport retailing is one of those services expected at the passenger terminal which Maun International Airport should have. Airport retailing can have services such as hotels, car rental outlets, banks, exchange offices, drugstores, stores for jewellery, books and magazines, gifts and crafts, clothing and accessories, convenience stores, optics, perfumes, and souvenirs. These shops located at the airport are mostly duty-free stores or shops. 

As passengers are in the airport, some spend their time shopping. Passengers may want a gift for someone they love. Some may want to buy food. In this regard, Maun Airport should have restaurants and shopping facilities that sell anything from snacks to full meals.

International airports are also known for the lounges that are used by travellers especially passengers in the business class or so. Lounges provide a place for relaxation for travellers. Passengers are often offered free snacks and other food choices, plus drinks, including alcoholic beverages.

In addition, lounges provide basics like Wi-Fi, clean restrooms where someone can even take a shower and a place to sit and relax while waiting for their next flight. Maun International Airport should have these services. As an International Airport, Maun Airport should have the necessary shopping facilities and lounges at the passenger terminal. Botswana is losing out on tourism dollars. As an airport in a tourism destination, we should come to the party and design airports with the necessary facilities to make passengers more comfortable and relaxing.

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