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CAAB to hike aviation tariffs

KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Moshabesha (standing) with CAAB board members
MAUN: The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) is proposing to increase aviation tariffs in a bid to recover costs.

Addressing stakeholders at a forum held here on Tuesday, chief executive officer, Geoffrey Moshabesha said CAAB would ensure the proposed hikes would be based on guidelines contained in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Policies on Airport and Air Navigation Charges.

In the policy document, ICAO recommends contracting state, in this case Botswana, to ensure through the CAAB that charges are invested back in the development of civil aviation instead of being deposited back into government coffers.

“Therefore, such authority has been established in Botswana in the form of CAAB. Despite this CAAB is still heavily dependent on government subventions, which should not be the case. The ICAO has come up with guidelines with an understanding that civil aviation should endeavour to be self-sustaining,” he said.

On behalf of CAAB board, Themba Johnson, called upon stakeholders to be robust and to engage in thought-provoking discussions. He stated that during the last engagement on review of charges, the aviation industry accused the CAAB of lack of consultation in matters that affected their operations. However, Johnson said by engaging the aviation industry stakeholders, they want to find a lasting solution to grow and sustain the aviation industry.

The CAAB has a statutory responsibility for the licensing of air transport, establishment, maintenance, operation and development of airports and aerodromes.

It also provides air navigation services, registration of aircraft, certification of aircraft, as well as licensing of aviation personnel.

The last time CAAB reviewed fees was in September 2012, and it was approved by

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the government on January 1, 2013. The landing fees increased by 100% with provision that charter operators in Maun and Chobe areas pay full amount of landing fees on first landing. Aeroplane parking and regulatory and other charges were increased to 100%, while domestic passenger service charges increased from P50 to P60.

Johnson said the key elements to be considered in determining the balance are costs, revenue and subsidy implications. He also mentioned that the level of service rendered primarily affects costs. The charges are also motivated by keeping consistency with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which calls for uniform conditions to be applied for use by contracting states to aircraft.

“In coming up with review charges, CAAB is cognisant of the fact that their obligation is to ensure the growth of the civil aviation in Botswana. Therefore, the proposed charges are based on international technical documents as well as review of charges of other neighbouring countries,” Johnson said.

CAAB’s annual revenues are estimated at around P115 million and the proposed  tariff hikes will push the Authority towards costs recovery.

The CAA Act of 2004 requires the Authority to perform its functions in accordance with sound commercial and financial principles, and ensure as far as possible, that its revenue is sufficient to meet the expenditure.

Amongst some of the charges including landing fees levied by CAAB on operators are parking fees, airport fees, handling rates,  navigation fees, passenger tax, lighting charge and approach control fees.



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