SSKIA To Be Transformed Into An Airport City

President Ian Khama has revealed that plans are underway to transform the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) into an airport city.

Khama said this last week when he was officially opened the airport, which has been going through some expansion.

According to Khama, government has decided to invest in the development of the airport and transform it into an airport city where all the services can be accessed.

“We want to turn this airport into an airport city and that would entail having shops and all the services that the city has being accessed at the airport for the convenience of the passengers,” said Khama.

Apart from the terminals, apron, runaways and on-airport businesses such as air cargo, logistics, offices an airport city also has a wide range of retail outlets and hotels. It is a new urban development trend evolving around many major airports.

Currently the SSKIA has the VIP lounges, additional escalators, service centres like BotswanaPost, beaureu de de change and a cafeteria. Khama added that the commissioning of the expanded airport would help diversify the economy, pointing out that airports are gateways to the outer world hence why they should always look the best.

The President further stated that the challenges encountered during the facelift of this airport resulted from poor management, which he said is a lesson.

“Going forward, we will ensure that we take into consideration the choice of the contractor as well as the management as this has clearly indicated how critical it is,” said Khama. On his the part, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST), Nonofo Molefhi, said that in future they will have to tighten their relationship with the contractor and consultants on some projects noting that it will help reduce the losses the country is faced with.

 Expansion of the airport, which was supposed to have been completed prior to the 2010 World Cup hosted in South Africa, was only finished early this year.

“In future when we fast track some projects, we have to take necessary precautions when evaluating the contractors. We also have to review our current work procurement procedures to ensure that nothing like this happens again,” he said.

However Molefhi said that he is satisfied with the final product of the airport adding that it has met quality standards required but it would need constant maintenance.

With an initial target completion date of May 2010, the expansion of the airport project was originally awarded to Sinohydro in 2008 at a cost P433 million. In July 2012, government then terminated Sinohydro contract alleging failure to deliver the project on time and within specifications, but by then the Chinese company had already been paid P522 million.

A new contractor, Stefannuti and Stocks was engaged in May last year to perform remedial and completion works at the airport for an additional sum of P142 million, taking the total amount paid by government to P644 million against the original budget of P433 million.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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