Mmegi Online :: SA Airline grumble over flights to Okavango delta
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Last Updated
Wednesday 22 February 2017, 18:32 pm.
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SA Airline grumble over flights to Okavango delta

Failure to resolve a dispute over the lucrative air route between Johannesburg and Maun - the nearest airport to the Okavango swamps - means that neither South African Express nor Botswana Air is flying the route.
By Staff Writer Thu 23 Feb 2017, 02:25 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: SA Airline grumble over flights to Okavango delta








Botswana Air's servicing of this route was terminated from October 1 and it is now only flying from Gaborone, which means that visitors to one of Botswana's top tourist attractions have to stop off at Gaborone to get there.

South African Express CEO Inati Ntshanga told MPs yesterday that this "sad state of affairs" was due to the failure of negotiations to acquire equal access to the route.

South African Express was granted the right to fly from Johannesburg to Maun last year but this was later denied when Botswana's aeronautical authority decided it was not ready to cope with a rival flying on the route reserved for Botswana Air.

South African Express chairwoman Lilian Boyle said the decision was particularly disappointing as they had budgeted to fly the route.

Ntshanga said during a briefing to Parliament's public enterprises committee yesterday that South African Express was considering a

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flight from Cape Town to Maun.He said challenges facing the airline in the year ahead included the danger of a double-dip recession, which would keep passenger numbers low; fuel price and exchange rate fluctuations; and building a new operation, Congo Express, the major regional expansion which got off the ground in February.

The airline's fleet would also be renewed this year.

Last year, South African Express recorded a net profit of R250m after accounting for the one-off addition of R163m resulting from a change in accounting treatment for spares. But revenue growth was only 0,5 percent as passenger numbers fell 5,4 percent. Ms Boyle said the year so far had been extremely difficult as the economic recovery had been "wobbly" and passenger numbers had not picked up. Competition was intensifying on major routes and the airline would consider closing the less profitable ones.

 

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