Breaking News

Maun airport engine for economic growth

30 Mar 2023

The newly refurbished Maun International Airport is expected to contribute to Botswana’s economic growth.

The refurbishment entailed expansion of the terminal building from 649 to 2 209 square metres.

In an interview, Chobe Holdings Limited Group managing director and also HATAB vice chairperson, Mr Lempheditse Odumetse said air transport was an important enabler to achieving economic growth and development for any country hence the refurbishment of the Maun airport was one the best decisions taken by government.

“Aviation globally shows that it can be an engine of growth for many economies. With the right policy frameworks from government, air connectivity can even grow stronger, driving even greater social and economic progress,” he said.

He said HATAB, as an association representing majority of sub-sectors within the hospitality and tourism industry, relied heavily on aviation for connecting people, culture and businesses across continents.

He indicated that since the refurbishment of the airport, they had witnessed comfortable flow from check-ins to boarding as well as improvement in efficiencies around daily operations.

However, with air travel demand growing significantly in recent years, Mr Odumetse highlighted the need to position Botswana better to constantly enhance passenger experience at the airports by improving on security, customer service and digital connectivity.

“With the world bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry is still in recovery phase and this requires improved services and reforms that would reassure the world that Botswana is still a destination of choice,” he added.

He pointed out that Maun airport was a key gateway for foreign visitors hence it was imperative to ensure efficient service delivery from all airport staff in the public and private sector to ensure visitors who contributed substantially to the economy received value for their money.

Furthermore, he said it was imperative for any country to have proper transport infrastructure that would attract the international travel industry, be it airlines, tour operators, travel agents or even individual travellers.

“This is the busiest airport in the country, statistics can prove that the flights generated at this facility far exceed that of any other airport in the country hence I believe that the expansion was needed and has been done to meet current needs,” he said.

Maun International Airport is one of the busiest in Southern Africa given its status as a gateway to the majestic Okavango Delta.

In 2021, the airport experienced a record 116 345 passengers and the number increased to 200 929 between January and October last year.

Renovations offer an increased number of check-in counters and expanded public concourse with meet and greet areas, enlarged departure halls, separation of domestic and international passengers for security screening, provision of new paved parking space and re-arrangement of the airside or landside security boundary.

Part of the new renovations are installation of a new public address system as well as improved flight information displays. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Portia Ikgopoleng

Location : MAUN

Event : Interview

Date : 30 Mar 2023