IMPROVED AIR SERVICE FOR BOTSWANA TRAVELLERS

PRESS RELEASE

 

Wilderness Air is excited to announce that, from 1 March 2012, the majority of Wilderness Air flying in Botswana will operate on a Scheduled Route basis.
By concentrating on four scheduled circuit routes, we will provide daily access between the main safari hubs of Maun and Kasane Airports and the camps in the Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Central Kalahari. Our intention is to prioritise guest access to the Wilderness Camps and so these routes have been optimised for their convenience. In addition, this improved efficiency means that our carbon footprint can be reduced – a vital element of our sustainability values.

 

The routes will operate twice a day: in the morning, the routes will meet up at Maun Airport in time to meet the departing Air Botswana flights and in the afternoon, the routes will depart from Maun to service guests arriving off Air Botswana.

 

The purpose of adapting the flying schedules for the Botswana operation is multifaceted and also a significant commitment for the Wilderness Group. The major points of consideration are:

 

Consistency with our sustainability (4Cs) values:

  • Being more efficient with our scheduled flying dramatically reduces our carbon footprint our modelling demonstrates we can achieve up to 25% reduction in harmful atmospheric emissions in the first year.
  • The data shows that 50% of our guests are starting their Botswana safaris from the north via Kasane. So it makes perfect sense to optimise our flying accordingly!

 

More visibility with regard to flying times:

  • The routes will allow for expected times of departure and arrival to and from all key hubs to be shared in advance with your guests, bearing in mind that on some inter-camp hops, times are not pre-determined.
  • This will assist the camps in planning activities and transfers with better utilisation of vehicles and services of guides and other staff, so as to minimise, if not negate, any inconvenience to our guests.

 

Maintenance:

  • Set schedules allow Wilderness Air to plan for and accommodate the vital maintenance of all our aircraft, without impacting on our guests or operation in any way, and thus we can maintain and even improve upon our well-deserved record of safety.

 

In time, we hope to link the Botswana schedule with a similar operation that is under consideration in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

 

The scheduled routes are as follows:

 

MOMBO ROUTE:            Kasane – Chobe Airstrip – Vumbura Airstrip – Mombo Airstrip – Maun

Maun – Mombo Airstrip – Vumbura Airstrip – Chobe Airstrip – Kasane

 

MOREMI ROUTE:           Chobe Airstrip – Khwai Airstrip – Chitabe Airstrip – Maun

Maun – Chitabe Airstrip – Khwai Airstrip – Chobe Airstrip

 

DELTA ROUTE:             Morning:

Maun – Jao Airstrip – Vumbura Airstrip – Chitabe Airstrip – Maun

(Jao could extend to or be replaced by Abu and /or Tubu)

Afternoon:                              

Maun – Chitabe Airstrip – Xigera Airstrip – Tubu Airstrip – Maun

                                    (Tubu could extend to or be replaced by Abu and /or Jao)

 

KALAHARI ROUTE:       Kalahari Plains – Maun – Kalahari Plains

 

Chobe is the name of airstrip used for the Linyanti Camps.

Khwai is the name of the airstrip used for Banoka Bush Camp and Khwai Discoverer Camp.

 

The Mombo and Moremi Routes will mainly be serviced with our Cessna C208 Grand Caravan. However, Wilderness Air reserves the right to use a smaller aircraft should there be less than four seats booked or should a C208 not be available e.g., due to maintenance. The Delta Route will be serviced with our Cessna C208 Grand Caravan and a Cessna 206.

 

The Kalahari Route will be serviced with our Cessna C206.

 

For more information on the specific aircraft referred to, please see links below:

 

Wilderness Air: Our Aircraft – Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

Wilderness Air: Our Aircraft – Cessna 206 G

 

All other Wilderness inter-camp flying within the Delta and Linyanti areas to camps not specified on the circuits will be operated via the Chobe, Vumbura and Jao airstrips by means of a “bumblebee” transfer. Utilising either a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, the aircraft type cannot be guaranteed until the day before the transfer as it will be dependent on helicopter availability and number of guests to be moved.

 

Please find attached a map showing the routes as well as set times for the circuit and details of which camps are serviced by which airstrip.

 

Please note:

  • Each route (except the Kalahari Route which will have 20 seats) will have a limit of 40 passengers. Additional space required will be on a request basis with your Wilderness consultant.
  • The current 2012 seat on charter rates will be applied to these scheduled circuit flights. Private charter costs are available on a request basis.
  • Any flying to or from camps not in the Wilderness portfolio will be serviced by our preferred flying partner in Botswana or must be booked on a Private Charter basis, even when flying from a Wilderness camp to a non-Wilderness camp and vice versa.
  • All flying sectors in Botswana, whether with Wilderness Air or our preferred partner, must be booked with Wilderness Safaris in conjunction with any bed nights booked in the Wilderness Safaris or Wilderness Adventures Botswana camps for our standard rates to apply. If this is not the case, then camp rates will be charged at the Recommended Selling Price (RSP) commissionable at 15%, except for Mombo or Little Mombo, which will be charged at the Recommended Selling Price (RSP) less 10% commission.
  • Depending on the requirements of a particular booking, the necessary details will be included in your Botswana package quotes and itineraries.
  • The luggage restriction remains 20kg in SOFT bags.
  • Going forward, Wilderness Air in Botswana will concentrate on Scheduled Seat Rates utilising these circuits. Any flights over and above the scheduled routes will need to be booked on a Private Charter basis.

–       Private Charters will be dependent on aircraft availability.

–       Private Charter flight times will need to be booked outside of the scheduled flying unless there is an aircraft to assist guests at the requested time.

–       Private Charters will be on a pick-up / drop-off basis.

–       Pilot and aircraft will not remain with guests, unless requested and the aircraft is available for overnight stops.

  • Where possible and without unnecessary inconvenience, existing flight bookings will be slotted into the new scheduled flight service. Where this is not possible, Wilderness Air will honour all existing bookings which are confirmed by the end of February for travel in 2012.
  • As of 1 March 2012, all new quotes and bookings will be on the new flying schedule.

 

We welcome your input as always. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Ashleigh Barker, the Wilderness Air Group Sales and Service Manager on ashleighb@wilderness-air.com, with any comments and feedback.

 

 

Alistair