Lost Qatar Airways, Air Namibia, and South African Express
Tourism and business travel negatively affected
CAAB lost more than 96% of its revenue generation thanks to movement restrictions
The authority is chasing after liquidators for payment
Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) has lost three international airlines that used to service Sir Seretse Khama International Airport following the COVID-19 national lockdown and strict travel movements from March 2020. These are Qatar Airways, Air Namibia, and South African Express Airways (SAEX).
According to CAAB, this loss has impacted on Botswana’s tourism and business travel. “This has negatively affected the country’s tourism and business travel. The country lost tourists who directly travelled on Qatar Airways and South African Express Airways (SAEX) and Air Namibia,” explained CAAB head of public relations and communications, Modipe Chris Nkwe.
Nkwe said Qatar Airways is still in operation but has not yet reconsidered Botswana market while Air Namibia and South African Express Airways (SAEX) were liquidated. He said that since the first lockdown, CAAB lost more than 96% of its revenue generation due to movement restrictions and border closures.
“However, Quarter 1 of 2021 saw a slight improvement in revenue attributable to easing of travel restrictions in domestic, regional and to some extend worldwide travel as the COVID-19 vaccination drive gains momentum.” He disclosed the authority is still owed money by the liquidated airlines and payments are being followed up with the liquidators.
Local employees, who worked for these liquidated airlines, also lost their jobs. Nkwe said CAAB continues to market possible air routes to Botswana to lure new airlines into the country targeting those that Botswana has signed bilateral agreements with.
Air Namibia was finally liquidated in May 2021 while SAEX has been under provisional liquidation since last year
There were celebrations when the first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Gaborone touched down at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on December 15, 2019. The airline operated a three times weekly service to Gaborone and according to CAAB it was the only non-African airline to fly to the country.