Tourist firms in Botswana said to be aiding poachers

Tourist firms in Botswana are said to be abetting poachers in the nation.

The finding has raised concerns as an industry that should have encouraged wildlife is expected to lead to the end of many species of plants and animals unique to Botswana.

A spokesperson for the Botswana Defence Force said that the unit uses force only in self-defence and that it has been arresting suspected poachers who are then sent to jail. However, conservationists feel that law enforcement agencies are not having the necessary impact needed to curb poaching in the nation. Unlike nations such as South Africa, poaching is afforded much leniency that could lead to the decline and ultimate extinction of plants and animals.

As law enforcing agencies are combating poachers who kill for both commercial reasons as well as to appease hunger, Botswana is yet to prosecute a commercial poacher. On the other hand, many Botswana citizens who hunt for food are reportedly routinely jailed and released. Analysts feel that Botswana’s prosecution record is poor despite several law enforcement agencies being involved in anti-poaching operations. In spite of the activities of intelligence units of the Department of Wildlife, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security and BDF units, rhino poaching is common and authorities seem to be powerless in bringing to book organised commercial poaching syndicates.

There are allegations that commercial poaching in the Chobe National Park is mainly sponsored by big names in the tourism industry. It is believed that several tourist facilities take pride in serving game meat obtained through poaching. Some tourist locations have reportedly gone a step further and have kept exotic animals in farms to be killed when the need arises. These animals are sourced from the forests.

There are also allegations that tourism promoters are offering counter intelligence to commercial poachers to help them operate better in the forests. Poachers are also said to have ample insider information, which helps them immensely to counter the government’s conservation efforts.

Fastjet Offers New Routes on Sale

Fastjet, a new airline offering low cost services to Africa, is offering airfares from its first base in Tanzania.

The airline is expected to commence its operations from November 29, 2012, from Dar es Salaam, to Kilimanjaro and Mwanza.

The airline has recently acquired three Airbus A319 aircraft, that will be operated by Rubicon Diversified Investments, a UK-based holding company, in consultation with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Easyjet, a UK-based low cost airline.

Fastjet chief executive officer, Ed Winter, said, ‘Air travel is no longer an exclusive option for a small minority in Tanzania. Fastjet will make flying an affordable option for more Tanzanians than ever before, bringing new opportunities for trade, leisure trips, and family visits.’

We have had a great response to our first tickets going on sale with over 100 seats sold within the first two hours for flights departing from November 29.’

The airline tickets are currently available on sale through its newly launched website,, as well as through local travel agents in Africa.

Fastjet has also announced its new brand, which replaces an existing logo with an African Grey Parrot. The new logo echoes the mission, ethics and target audience of the airline.

Winter added, ‘The African Grey is renowned for its intelligence and is therefore a perfect personification of Fastjet’s motto; smart travel. We are delighted to be unveiling this new branding today, which better reflects our individual corporate identity and speaks to our key audiences.

We hope that our friendly new mascot and logo will soon become universally recognized as symbols of reliability, efficiency and safety.’

The airline chairman, David Lenigas, said, ‘We are excited that the launch is now imminent and that Fastjet will be turning from a concept into a reality.’

However, responding to media scrutiny, he added: ‘A recent story emanating from East Africa and picked up by the Daily Telegraph contained material inaccuracies regarding disputes with two Fly540 (Kenya) suppliers. Whilst we are not able to comment directly on these specific cases, we can confirm that the amounts in dispute are not deemed material, and that we will vigorously defend the company’s interests as these cases progress. Our shareholders would expect us only to settle invoices that are accurate and appropriate.

The launch of Fastjet has generated enormous interest in East Africa and we are delighted with the strong partnerships being forged with suppliers and Governments across the region.’

KLM Announces Services from Manston Airport in UK to Amsterdam

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the national airline of the Netherlands, will be offering services from Manston airport in eastern Kent, UK, to Amsterdam, in The Netherlands.

The new services commence from April 2, 2013, with twice daily flights from Manston airport to Schiphol airport. With the new route, the airline will be operating to 17 airports in the UK. The airline will be flying up to 80 passengers on its Fokker 70 jets.

Henri Hourcade, the UK general manager for KLM, said, ‘Demand for efficient and convenient schedules to long-haul destinations from the UK continues to grow to emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and the Far East, but equally to established markets such as North America.

By connecting the UK regions to worldwide destinations, KLM is offering more choice to holidaymakers, but equally adding to the infrastructure for regional UK businesses.’

Currently Manston Airport is being served by only charter operators, Newmarket Holidays and Jersey Travel. KLM will be the only scheduled service from the airport when it commences its operations.

Charles Buchanan, the chief executive officer at Manston Airport, said, ‘The new services will be a real benefit to Kent and its residents. Passengers will be able to arrive at Manston, park adjacent to the terminal building, check in and be on the flight to Amsterdam within minutes, a hassle-free experience that makes travelling a pleasure. Passengers from Manston can leave home without the worries of road congestion or excessive flight delays affecting their journey.’

Earlier the airline entered into a code share agreement with Flybe, a UK-based airline company, on two routes in UK; between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Southampton Airport in England; and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Inverness Airport, in Scotland.

KLM, with the new code share, is offering its customers three daily flights to Southampton from Amsterdam; and a daily flight to Inverness from Amsterdam; the agreement being effective May 30, 2012.

Qatar Airways Receives First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft

Qatar Airways, a Qatar based airline company, has taken delivery of its initial Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft at Seattle, US, the headquarters of the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing.

The airline has flown the aircraft to Doha, Qatar, where it will be based and will be used to operate on long distance flights. The airline is expected to take delivery of around 60 such Dreamliners on order over the next few years.

The new aircraft is the world’s earliest 787 aircraft offering wireless connectivity facilities for all passengers in both business and economy cabins to remain connected through Wi-Fi and GSM telephony options. The aircraft also provides a fully interactive in-flight entertainment system with around 1,000 video and audio options for passengers.

Qatar Airways chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, said, ‘Five years ago, Boeing delivered its first ever aircraft to us, a triple seven. Now, we become the first Middle East customer to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing has crafted a state-of-the-art aeroplane, designed to be yet another asset to excel our signature Five Star service in the sky to all our passengers across the Middle East and around the world.

Qatar Airways set about a dream to fly our nation’s flag to all corners of the world when we launched operations 15 years ago. We have been the World’s Best Airline for two consecutive years and we are spreading our wings further with the delivery of one of the most advanced aircraft in the world.

Our decision to invest in the 787 that is at the forefront of new aerospace technology represents the future of air travel and reflects our firm belief in its unrivalled capabilities and the value it will add to our fleet and network expansion plans.

Our new 787s provide a game-changing experience with specially designed interiors, spacious cabins and custom-made seats in both Business and Economy Class.

Space, comfort and ensuring our passengers have the best onboard entertainment options are some of the key elements of our new Boeing 787s. Qatar Airways has taken a lot of time and effort in ensuring we are true leaders in the field rather than followers, meticulously working with manufacturers on specific seat design and features.’