South African domicile aircrafts operator, CemAir, took it to the local skies again. This emerged in Maun where tour operators gathered for the annual Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) conference.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) told tour operators that CemAir has been granted permission to fly into the Maun international airport from May 2023, “with a plan to also operate into SSKIA later in the year”.
The return to the local skies comes after the privately owned South African airline said in 2022 that it is looking to expand its regional operations by introducing several new routes on the continent.
CemAir, which is headquartered at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, increased its fleet size by more than 20% in the first half of 2022. The private airline operated Air Botswana’s Gaborone-Cape Town route on a wet lease between February 2017 and January 2018.
Its return to the local skies, also comes at a time when the Maun International Airport has gone through an upgrade that included an extension of the runway to 3,7km, allowing it to accommodate aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
“Prior to the terminal building expansion, construction works on the runway extension and the Air Traffic Control Tower & Technical Building Block were completed in August 2012 and January 2016, respectively”, said Isaac Mabote – CAAB’s Director of Airport Services at the just ended HATAB conference.
Mabote said that the new Maun airport terminal building now processes 270 passengers per hour against the previous 70.
Maun Airport is regarded as one of the busiest airports in the southern African region, with the latest official statistics showing 200 929 passenger movements between January and October 2022.
“These figures demonstrate that we do indeed require top-notch airport facilities to strengthen our competitive advantage in the global economy”, said Mabote in Maun.
Apart from CemAir, the CAAB says it is courting atleast one long-haul flight into the local skies by end of 2023/4 under its airline attraction strategies.
“Courting of both Emirates and Qatar Airlines is fully active. Emirates was supposed to start flights to Gaborone on June 1, 2020 however, the COVID-19 outbreak prevented this from happening. On the other hand, Qatar indefinitely suspended its operations due to Covid-19”, said Mabote.