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Ethiopian Airlines direct flight to Maun signifies aviation growth

11 Jun 2024

Introduction of the Ethiopian Airlines direct flight from Addis Ababa to Maun signifies another milestone in the development of the aviation industry, says, the Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mr Aubrey Lesaso. 

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Public Works during the Ethiopian Airlines inaugural flight at Maun International Airport on Monday June 10, he said the direct flight to Maun bore testimony to the strides the country had made

He noted that the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) was relentless to see the growth of aviation and increase in connectivity into the country. 

These efforts, he said, would have a major boost in the economy of the country away from the mainstay diamonds noting that it would indeed increase trade and tourism.  “We salute Ethiopian Airlines for considering Maun as its new destination. 

My government is committed to sustaining and nurturing this relationship and we will indeed support the airlines into Maun airport in every way possible,” he added Mr Lesaso.

He said the Maun new route was Ethiopian Airlines’ second entry into the country other than Gaborone noting that their wish was now to see an increase in the number of arrivals from three flights per week to daily operations. 

He indicated that the Maun airport had grown to be the busiest of the aerodromes in the country in terms of number of aircraft landings and hoped that soon the airport would lead in the number of passenger’s arrivals. 

In addition, he said the airport was leading in terms of profitability as compared to the other two airports in the country. 

He assured the gathering that Botswana skies remained one of the safest noting that its compliance rating was above the world average at 80.1 per cent and that the Maun airport was one of the only two international airports in the country that had been certified. 

However, Mr Lesaso acknowledged that CAAB was continuously looking for ways of improving the infrastructure at the Maun airport highlighting that the authority had recently engaged consultants to look into the suitability and long-term sustainability of the current airport considering the growth of passenger movement into the area. 

The gathering learnt that other plan were underway to build VVIP lounge to facilitate VVIP passengers coming to the shores. 

“We are also considering improving the strength of our surface areas, that is the runway, taxiways and the apron to be able to handle all aircraft categories including the operations of Boeing 747,” he said. 

He appreciate that CAAB was working tirelessly to make sure that the initiatives were completed.

CAAB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bao Mosinyi, said the Ethiopian Airlines’ inaugural flight from Addis Ababa to Maun was a continuation of a long-standing air connectivity relationship between Ethiopia and Botswana.

He recalled that the frequency of Addis Ababa to Gaborone flight used to be three times a week just like the Addis Ababa to Maun plans to be.

“Now we have a daily flight between Addis Ababa and Gaborone and I have no doubt that the new flight will also be daily and the return flight will soon not go through Ndola, Zambia,” he added. 

He also reaffirmed the Botswana’s openness of the skies noting that they were fully committed to the single air transport market and promised to work with the Ethiopian Airlines and any other airlines to further improve long distance air travel to Botswana including the granting of fifth freedom rights. 

Dr Mosinyi further acknowledged that starting a new route was an expensive undertaking for an airline but reiterated their commitment to ensure the route was successful. 

While the people of Maun appreciated the new flight, he said they also needed jobs but appreciated that big airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines often invest at their international destinations. 

Maun Senior Chief Representative, Kgosi Oleyo Ledimo also appreciated the Ethiopian Airlines direct flight to Maun saying they were hopeful that it would bring more economic benefits to the community. 

He was hopeful that the move would open employment opportunities as well as boost the tourism industry. 

He also noted that the flight would enable travellers to arrive faster at their convenient destinations without stopover in Johannesburg. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : Inaugural Flight Launch

Date : 11 Jun 2024