March 2015 – Wilderness Air is excited to be upgrading and reconfiguring its fleet in both Botswana and Namibia to provide the most efficient and most affordable means of servicing the Wilderness Safaris camps and flying circuits in those countries.
The first step in this process has been to acquire four brand-new six-seater GippsAero Airvans for the Botswana operation at a total cost of $3.3 million. The first two aircraft have already arrived in Maun and will soon be in service, and will be followed over the coming months by the remaining two Airvans. This first consignment will be added to over the course of the next 18 months by a further three new Airvans, as well as three larger turbine-engined aircraft.
As these Airvans arrive and are registered with the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), so the newest of Wilderness Air’s Cessna 206s, which have been part of the backbone of its flying service in Botswana, will be moved to Namibia. Here they will replace the older Cessna 210s on the shorter ‘bumblebee’ routes between Doro Nawas, Damaraland Camp, Desert Rhino Camp, Hoanib Skeleton Coast and Möwe Bay. As is currently the case, the longer legs on the main circuit (e.g., Windhoek – Kulala – Swakopmund – Doro Nawas – Ongava – Windhoek) will continue to be serviced by the bigger, faster 12-seater Caravans. Wilderness Air expects that the first C206 will be in service in Namibia by mid-May.
“We are proud of our modern, new fleet and are confident that these changes will result in an improved and more cost-effective service for our guests and partners in the travel trade. As is the case in all the countries where we operate, our travel shops will continue to book private charters through approved operators offering the same degree of service as Wilderness Air”, says Derek de la Harpe, Commercial Director of Wilderness Holdings.