This Content Is Only For Subscribers
- a feasibility study on its proposed developments planned
- option to relocate the airport with its international status to Chanoga
- another option to develop the existing one
- consultations held with Maun local authorities
- CAAB will have made a decision in a year’s time
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) has recently released a tender for provision of consultancy services to carry out a feasibility study on the proposed developments of the Maun International Airport.
This comes amid suggestions as to whether the airport which is one of the busiest in Southern Africa should either be relocated with its international status to another spacious place preferably Chanoga or alternatively, for the current one to further be expanded.
In an interview, CAAB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bao Mosinyi said the feasibility study will give an idea of what should be done about the airport and they will thereafter propose to government for funding, indicating that they have already held a consultative meeting with the Maun leadership to inform them about the proposed developments and the study.
According to him, when the airport was developed it was done in stages, first with the runway being extended, then a new technical block being built, followed by a new tower and the last part was the extension of the terminal building which was officially opened earlier this year. He indicated that the other plan after extension of the already completed terminal building was to build another new one. But the CEO noted that when he came into office he suggested that they think hard about the future of the airport hence the feasibility study.
Mosinyi noted that though the airport is currently situated in a good location, there is a lot that needs to be done, highlighting that it only has one runway which is also not strong enough to handle heavy aircrafts. He added that the current terminal has a small capacity with limited space for commerce and does not also reflect the image of Ngamiland – be it the arts or culture among others to tourists. Such limitations, he said results in major international airlines losing interest of flying to Maun, despite it being a tourism hub.
Mosinyi said even if there is a recommendation to have an international airport built elsewhere and the current one be kept as a domestic airport there will still be the need to invest heavily more into developing it further as well. He believes that should the current airport be turned into a domestic one it would still have great opportunity to thrive as there is enough activity in that space.
Mosinyi also believes that the other option to have an international airport elsewhere is also ideal as it will contribute to the economic livelihood of Maun. He noted that incoming tourists usually pass through the current airport, into the delta and never get to experience Maun and contribute the local economy. He said this will however be different when the airport is built elsewhere as tourists will have to travel from Chanoga which is the suggested venue, through Maun to the domestic airport and will subsequently contribute to the village’s economy in various ways such as transportation and accommodation among others.
He said this will also give an opportunity for better facilities such as hotels, roads to be constructed around the new airport adding that it will also allow for the construction of a green airport, one that is suitable for Maun where its conservation and the tourism industry can all be reflected in it.
“By this time next year we will have a pretty good idea as to what should be done about the airport and then propose to government the best way forward. So there might be a possible huge investment into the airport infrastructure here in Maun which will turn this area around,” the CEO said noting that in his view the future of aviation growth in Botswana is right here in the tourism capital.