A focal development in Botswana's civil aviation sector is due next year when more operators besides Air Botswana will be licensed to provide domestic and international scheduled air services on a competitive basis, the Minister of Works and Transport, Johnnie Swartz, has said.
Already this year, two giant foreign airlines entered the Botswana market - South African Airways and Kenya Airways. Kenya Airways will offer direct flights between Gaborone and Nairobi three times a week beginning next month. The African continent's biggest airline, South African Airways, began to fly the Gaborone- Johannesburg route earlier this year. The route was operated by South African Express Airways before.
Speaking this week during a three-day official visit of the President of the International Civil aviation Organisation (ICAO), Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, Minister Swartz said the government would ensure that further legislation to enhance regulatory oversight of civil aviation was passed by the end of this year.Swartz said air transport was key the economy and that tourists needed to reach popular destinations such as the Okavango.
Being a vast country, Botswana needed air transport to facilitate access to remote areas. He disclosed that Botswana has a total of 158 registered aircraft most of which support tourism and trade related activities. SKIA (Sir Seretse Khama International Airport) is currently being refurbished and
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana was launched earlier this year to enhance the safety, security and efficiency in civil aviation services through effective and autonomous management. Swartz said Botswana recognised the critical importance of ICAO role in reducing aircraft emissions that contribute to global climate change.
"Botswana intends to actively participate in the high level meeting that has been convened by ICAO and the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," he said.Meanwhile, the Board Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), Gobusamang Keebine, has also welcomed the new developments.
"The entry of new air carriers, especially to serve long-haul routes and provide direct connections between Botswana, the rest of Africa and other continents, is a key objective," he said.Keebine was also speaking during the visit of the chief of ICAO.