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Following the recent tender by The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) or provision of consultancy services to carry out a feasibility study on the proposed developments of the Maun International Airport, on which there were two options of relocating the facility and that of expanding it at its current location, there has been mixed reactions from members of the public.
The Ngami Times then carried a story pre-empting the study on the two options – titled Maun International Airport: To relocate or not!
The response to the story on our social media platforms seemed to take the authorities back to 16 years ago when government, under the ministry of transport had the choice to relocate the facility to Chanoga, but instead chose to relocate residents.
Hundreds of people who lived around the airport where in 2006 relocated to pave way for its expansion. The airport was later developed 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.
Its expansion would later cause an uproar as Botshabelo and Sedie residents who were relocated complained about government failure to fully compensate them.
Members of the public recently took to our social media to share mixed feelings about the new proposed development which is anticipated to be finalised next year;
“Relocation will be ideal for many reasons…currently the airport is within the town, which causes noise pollution for the community, it’s a disaster in waiting in the event of flight accident or fire. The relocation will afford for proper international standards Airport with better terminal, bigger runways for Big machines, build duty free retails, hotels, opportunity for taxis and shuttle business…. Development of the adjacent villages, more employment opportunities pre and post construction…. Build a truly African Airport in the wild and Gateway to the Delta. So many opportunities… The current one can be turn to state of Art University/College… Develop Retail malls and multi-purpose residential, recreational fairies like conference centre’s all in one… Further creating more jobs and investment to make Mau the ultimate City it deserves to be,” Zet Zetz.
“Expansion would be more ideal, cost of relocation would be quite high, taking into account the already done refurbishments, runway increases and the relocation of homesteads to make space for the increase runway space. Despite the noise pollution that comes with it being in town, it has afforded the chance for many to know and see airplanes take off and land on the airport, that alone has translated to local and international tourism on its own. Locals get to see the different types of aircraft that hang on the grounds. Also it’s locality gives workers who work there an advantage to continue to enjoy a low cost of commuting. We all can agree that its current location gives ease of access to many other facilities for other services which are within a working distance. Relocation would mean workers having to spend more on commuting and we can all agree that the soaring petrol prices are digging deep into our pockets one way or the other.
Locality also gives passengers of all aircrafts the advantage of experiencing a scenic view of our small lively town. You might take it for granted but for some it is an experience that comes at no extra cost,” Mmoni Lehika Kelvin Dintho
“Let it be expanded to relocate will be waste resources, the people who relocated to Disana were paid billions so it’s better to expand it,” Tefo Modisane Mothibakgomo.
“The land that the airport is occupying is huge enough. Expand,” Tshiamo C. Salona
“Why do they have such alternative after spending more money to upgrade it,” Josh Mafkatee.