Monday, September 30, 2013

► BOTSWANA: Kalahari Airways eyes flights to New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong via its Gaborone hub.

Denis Coghlan, the chief executive officer of the ambitious Botswana-based startup, Kalahari Airways, has outlined his longterm vision for the company in which he sees the establishment of Gaborone as a regional hub for flights to Hong Kong and the United States in addition to London.

Kalahari Airways' planned network
According to Chinese newswire, Xinhua, starting in early 2014, Kalahari will begin offering daily Cape Town - London Gatwick via Gaborone flights, likely using the three ex-Qantas B747-400s previously mentioned.
"Later we will add Durban to Hong Kong via Gaborone with an immediate connection to our Cape Town-London flight," said Coghlan.

"Our long range plan is to commence flights from Gaborone to New York and Los Angeles via Shannon Airport in Ireland where passengers will be able to pre-clear U.S. customs and immigration before they arrive in the U.S.," he added.
Mr Coghlan claims that in addition to securing agreements with two unnamed regional carriers to feed traffic into his Gaborone hub from Lusaka, Harare and Johannesburg (Lanseria), Kalahari Airways research has shown that Gaborone's customer potential combined with the available passenger loads out of Cape Town, the flight will have full loads on every flight out.

Kalahari Airways expects to attract premium class diamond industry, business and tourist passengers in Botswana and expects to generate USD200million per annum.

With costly upgrades to Gaborone's Sir Seretse Khama International Airport still ongoing, Botswana's government has attempted to get a return on its investment by attracting more international traffic to the facility. Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, has reportedly held talks with major airlines in the past, among them Delta Airlines (DL) though in light of Johannesburg's proximity to Gaborone, nothing substantive has yet to come of those negotiations.