Qatar Airways is set to become the first Middle Eastern carrier to fly to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. The airline announced plans to launch a three-times weekly flight (via Johannesburg) on 27 October 2019. However, according to the flight calendar on their website, it appears the launch date has been pushed back to 15 December 2019.
Flights will be operated by an A350-900 on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays with the following schedule:
Doha (DOH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
QR1377: Depart DOH 06:55hrs / Arrival JNB 14:50hrs
Johannesburg (JNB) – Gaborone (GBE)
QR1377: Depart JNB 15:55hrs / Arrival GBE 16:50hrs
Gaborone (GBE) – Johannesburg (JNB)
QR1378: Depart GBE 18:35hrs / Arrival JNB 19:30hrs
Johannesburg (JNB) – Doha (DOH)
QR1378: Depart JNB 20:40hrs / Arrival DOH 06:35hrs+1
The A359 aircraft will feature 36 Business Class seats and 247 Economy Class seats.
Note: If you’re an aviation geek, it’s also worth mentioning that these aircraft will feature Qatar’s renowned business class QSuites.
It’s also worth mentioning that the flight is not a fifth freedom route, so Qatar will not be allowed to transport passengers just between Johannesburg and Gaborone (or vice versa). In other words, only passengers that book GBE-DOH (via JNB) (or vice versa) will be on the plane.
BOTSWANA IS THE PLACE TO BE!
In addition to the amazing culture, vast nature and wildlife have made Botswana a renowned destination for tourists from across the globe.
Although the main airport for Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE), is far from the popular tourist parks in the north, it is the only airport in the country set up to handle international air traffic.
For tourists arriving from various parts of the world, the typical method of entry into Botswana meant flying to a major hub (e.g. Johannesburg) and then booking a separate connecting flight. Clearly, a direct connection from Doha will make life more seamless for tourist hotspots like visiting the Okavango Delta.
Currently, five other carriers operate services to and from GBE; Air Botswana, Air Namibia, South African Airlink, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Express. As such, Qatar will be the first non-African airline to fly into Gaborone.
Qatar Airways has long been committed to growing their presence in Africa (even before others jumped on the bandwagon). Qatar currently operates a modern fleet of aircraft to various African cities including Marrakech, Windhoek, Zanzibar, and Seychelles. In addition, they more recently launched an array of exciting new destinations in Africa, namely Rabat, Morocco and Mogadishu, Somalia.
I think Qatar and their award-winning product (see below) will be welcomed additions to the country.
Are you excited to see a direct connection from the Gulf to Botswana?