Kasane Airport to enhance tourism, trade, investment

02nd March 2018
All new Kasane Airport Source:The Midweek Sun

The expanded Kasane International Airport that was officially opened by Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) is expected to facilitate an increase in the number of tourists. Measuring 7 800 square metres, the new terminal building is 500 percent bigger than the original terminal which stood at 1300 square metres. The refurbishment includes the construction of a new Air Traffic Control Tower comprising four levels; the refurbishment of the Fire Station, Technical Building, and the Police Station at the total cost of P430 million. Speaking at the occasion, President Ian Khama said in 1999, the Kasane Airport terminal building handled 30 674 passengers, a number that has now increased to 96 975 - an overall growth of over 68 percent.

He said the Kasane International Airport project provides access to one of the country’s pristine tourism regions and continues the government’s drive to deliver improved infrastructure to meet passenger demands into and out of the country. The Airport is strategically located, as Kasane is the gateway into the Chobe region and the rest of Southern Africa at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers where four countries; Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe join and share a border. Construction works, including the refurbishment of the old terminal building and its integration into the new one started in November 2014.

The refurbishment initially started with airside works which comprised the extension of the runway from 2 000 to 3 000 metres, as well as the widening of the runway and the provision of an airfield ground lighting system to facilitate night operations and the provision of automated weather observation systems. President Khama acknowledged the role aviation plays in the economy of the country stating that it contributes significantly towards tourism, trade, investment and the travel industry. “It is through this realisation that we have deliberately decided to invest substantially in the development and improvement of our airports and other related infrastructure including suitable aircraft investments,” Khama said. Botswana is currently rated at 71.32 percent of effective implementation of the Aviation Safety Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

“This assessment puts Botswana above the African average of 48.24 percent and the World Average of 63.44 percent,” Khama said, adding that in terms of air travel, this means that Botswana is one of the safest countries, as far as aviation safety is concerned. According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila the Kasane Airport refurbishment had a 12-month delay as a result of the delays in power supply by the Botswana Power Corporation, the availability of aggregate due to the environment and landscape formation of the area, as well as delays in the provision of work permits.

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