Buoyed by the success of its Gaborone flights, Kenya Airways (KQ) is considering introducing flights to Francistown and Maun, the airline's country manager Juliet Zintambila has announced. Both airports have recently seen upgrades allowing them to handle heavier aircraft and greater passenger volumes.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Monday, May 21, 2012
Botswana's diamond exports continue to grow thus resulting in strong economic growth, so too is its local airline, Air Botswana (BP), experiencing an increase in demand. Francistown, in particular, has seen a resurgence in its mining industry after a disastrous slump in 2011 which saw global nickel prices take a drastic fall.
|Air Botswana ATR 42 in Johannesburg|
With its new airport completed in August 2011, there are plans to try and attract bigger regional players like Emirates and Kenya Airways to Francistown, and to eventually turn it into an airport busier than that of Gaborone, the capital.
Speaking in Francistown, Botswana's second largest city, the company's general manager, Sakhile Reiling, announced Air Botswana's intention to increase services between Francistown and Johannesburg which at present is operated twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday. She stated that there was strong demand from local mining outfits for the route, which aside from the aforementioned biweekly service, had necessitated a stop over in Gaborone.
""We have other flights that operate between Johannesburg and Gaborone on other days of the week. The problem is that they are not direct. They pass through Gaborone, that is why we want to introduce more direct flights between the two cities. We want to improve the convenience of doing business for the mines," she said."
To aid this future expansion, Reiling alluded to a recent deal, worth roughly USD$5.5million, for 2 as yet unknown aircraft from Europe, the first of which is due in July, the second, in September of this year. A further two aircraft are due next year.
Presently, Air Botswana operates a fleet of ATR 42s & 72s and a BAe 146.
The start of additional flights between Francistown and Johannesburg will however, be subject to approval with the South African government, with whom Botswana has a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).