Maun Airport refurbishment back on track

Photo credit: Gary Ashworth

The long overdue refurbishment of Maun International Airport is progressing well, Botswana Safari News has quoted the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) Public Relations Manager, Modipe Nkwe as saying.

While the idea to revamp the airport was in the pipeline for years with little to no movement, the project started on the 25th April 2019 with the completion scheduled for the 5th August 2020. According to Botswana Safari News, CAAB says it is still evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will affect the project duration. 

The revamp includes new building works; modifications of the existing terminal building; external works including roads, services, carports, paving, fencing, mechanical systems and electrical systems, among others.

Additionally, the plan is to build bigger domestic and international departure lounges, a new baggage area complete with carousel belts, new and improved domestic and international arrival halls with baggage handling systems, new baggage breakup area, the reconfiguration of passenger and public circulation space in the main concourse, an improved and larger meet and greet area, new bathroom facilities, refreshment area and new parking and traffic arrangements.

YourBotswana view…

Here at YourBotswana, we have been talking about the urgent need to revamp the Maun Airport for years. The airport is open to both domestic and international traffic and mainly serves as the gateway for tourists visiting the world-famous Okavango Delta.

Maun International Airport is the second busiest airport in Botswana in terms of passenger traffic from Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and the base for tourist activities in the Okavango area and other parts of North West District. In terms of aircraft movements (the majority of which are short-hop flights to and from airfields in the Delta) Maun International Airport is ranked top airport in Africa, i.e. excluding the number-one-ranked OR Tambo International of South Africa. The airport functions as a hub for small single and twin-engine aircraft feeding mainline carriers.

The aforementioned alone speaks to the urgent need for not only the revamp of the airport but also its expansion. We have watched year after year, as Maun Airport appeared to shrink in on itself due to wear and tear as well as neglect. The mind boggled as to why there was delay after delay to go ahead with the renovation. Although news of SKI Airport and Kasane Airport was welcome, it was also like a kick in the teeth because it felt like Botswana’s busiest airport was left to rot. 

Post COVID-19, the need to expedite the project has caught up with the authorities. As the world reemerges from the pandemic to a new normal, how we travel by air will undoubtedly have to change drastically if we’re to remain safe and healthy. Going forward, the squeezing of bodies into Maun Airport’s teeny weeny lobby (of a fashion) will simply not do.  

In the wake of COVID-19, Botswana’s hordes of annual visitors will no doubt be a lot warier of the situation as they won’t feel safe crammed into the shoebox we call an airport. Maun Airport deserves a proper facelift. What’s more, if done right, I have no doubt in my mind that this will feed into other avenues such as job creation, the emergence of other business ventures in the travel and hospitality value chain, the capacity to process more visitors and economic growth, among others.

Reference: Botswana Safari News

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