Maun Welcomes Ethiopian!


  • Destination Maun biggest winner in Ethiopian Airlines’ new route
  • New route raise hopes for economic prosperity
  • Tourist arrivals expected to increase
  • New route offers seamless air connectivity

Ethiopian Airlines has finally made its maiden flight on the new route from Addis Ababa to Maun, a move that to all intents and purposes is a major breakthrough in air connectivity for destination Maun and Botswana.

The profile of Ethiopian Airline, as the biggest operator in the continent and among the best in the world, positions Maun – a gateway to the Okavango Delta on a competitive edge for international arrivals with this thrice weekly direct flight.

The new route brought with it great excitement and has raised hopes for economic prosperity in the region – Maun and the north west in general. This was the general mood the weekend before the flight on Monday, both in Botswana and in Addis as some stakeholders flew to the East African country to make part of the flight home.

The Ngami Times also had the privilege to be part of the team that went over to Addis Ababa for the inaugural flight, courtesy of Botswana Tourism.

It was a rare moment come true – and the send-off ceremony at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport was a true testament to the excitement over the launch of the route, which holds symbolic value in connecting Maun to East Africa and the world.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tassew and Botswana’s ambassador to Ethiopia Tebelelo Boang, speaking in Addis Ababa ahead of the flight – both underscored the significance of the route in connecting the destination to the world. The emphasis on tourism growth, given Maun’s significance of the destination as the gateway to the world 1000th world heritage site could not be overemphasised.

Why is the Ethiopian route to Maun a big win for tourism in Botswana, especially the north west? Firstly, Ethiopian Airlines is the biggest airline in Africa, and one of the biggest in the world, and has been in the game for 78 years – currently boast a fleet of over 150 operating aircraft, with 74 on order.

It is wholly owned by the government of Ethiopian and has other subsidiaries that include hotels.

This effectively means the airline is well connected to the world, and can therefore bring tourists from all corners of the world to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta in the shortest time and most efficient way. This will result in increased tourist numbers to Maun and into the Delta and other destinations.

Ethiopian Airlines’ might in the aviation industry is not in dispute – and flying to Addis over the weekend, the already existing Addis to Gaborone route was the only alternative – and this is serviced by a Boeing 787 – Dreamliner. This makes a big statement to any traveller that the airline means business.

For a first timer, arriving at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, it becomes distinctly clear of the high profile of Ethiopian Airlines.

Beside the massive young fleet, Ethiopian has the biggest and best Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility that also has branches in many of the destinations the airline operates. This also position Botswana in good position to have the facility in future – which would create jobs.

Further, the airline runs the biggest aviation university in the continent with a yearly intake capacity of over 4000 students. The half a century old facility provides training to pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, cabin crews, commercial and ground services professional among others.

Any association with Ethiopian airlines, by a destination like Botswana positions one to benefit from such a facility. Ethiopian Airlines also owns the biggest ultra-luxury hotels – Skylight Hotel which boasts a total of 1024 rooms, in the proximity of Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. It was at Maun International airport where a ceremony to celebrate the inaugural flight arrival was held that the excitement and expectations were more pronounced. The flight was celebrated as is norm with a water salute, followed by speeches from local authorities, the airline representatives and aviation stakeholders.


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