Sir Seretse Khama Airport (SSKA) is the major international airport serving Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. It is located 15km north of the city, and is accessible through a passage off the Francistown road on the western bypass.
SSKA is served by two scheduled and several non-scheduled airlines, connecting major destinations in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. It is also a base for three charter companies serving the Southern Africa region. Several general aviation operators, two aircraft maintenance companies and a flying club also operate out of the airport.
The Botswanan Government unveiled a $61m expansion plan to improve SSKA’s infrastructure in 2008, and construction began in June of the same year. The expansion includes a new terminal, designed by NACO & Stewart Scott International JV, which will be able to handle 900 passengers an hour when complete. The existing 3km runway will be extended by 1km, and a new, 4km parallel asphalt taxiway will also be built. Another 33 hangar plots will be constructed, and the current car park extended.
The construction contract was awarded to China-based SinoHydro. The work is being completed in two phases: Phase 1 involves the construction of the new terminal between the existing terminal and the aircraft apron, while Phase 2 will see a new building erected on the site of the existing terminal, car parks and aircraft parking aprons.
The expansion was intended to help the airport increase capacity during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa – however, it missed the deadline. Construction is now expected to be completed in October 2010.
Sir Seretse Khama Airport terminal features
The airport has a passenger terminal and a cargo shed. The usual elements – baggage reclaim area, check-in counters, customs and immigration facilities – are present.
Amenities include a bank, bureau de change, post office, ATMs and a left luggage facility. On the concourse, passengers also have access to craft shop, book shop and snack bar, while the international departure lounge houses duty free, a second snack bar and the airport’s CIP (commercial important person) lounge, which is managed by Air Botswana.
Entry to the airport is restricted and controlled; each entry point has facilities to screen passengers, baggage and cargo. The terminal area is monitored by CCTV systems, and passengers also need to carry valid passports and ID cards to show at security checkpoints.
Air traffic control centre
The air traffic approaching SSKA is controlled by Botswana’s Department of Civil Aviation. The area control centre located in the airport operates 24 hours a day, handling all aircraft flying through Botswanan air space.
Ground transportation is available in the form of buses, taxis and rental cars – Avis, Budget and Imperial all operate from the airport. Many of Gaborone’s major hotels and lodges also operate courtesy buses.