Sunday, November 17, 2013

Swaziland: No more low flying witches as Swaziland enters the airline business

Swazi Media Commentary reports


                                              Sikhuphe Airport 

The Swaziland Government proposal to set up its own national airline to use at the kingdom’s proposed Sikhuphe Airport is a waste of time and money.
It is estimated a single aircraft for the airline would cost E700 million (US$70 million). This compares to the E125 million budgeted for free primary school education in Swaziland this year.

I have blogged before about the many reasons Swaziland needs to indulge in a bit of regicide and it would appear this is yet another one. Swaziland actually owns a jet or rather Swaziland has already paid for a jet. It of course belongs to the King rather than the people who paid for it.

                                                                      The Kings Jet
Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) says it needs to set up its own national airline to encourage international airlines to use the airport, which is being built 80km from the kingdom’s capital, Mbabane.

If you are going to fuck up big time building an airport you can't afford then I guess building it 80km from its potential users is consistent. One should remember that this is the country which has recently passed a law banning witches flying on broomsticks over 150 meters.

"Swaziland has launched a crackdown on high-flying witches after banning them from hovering above 150metres.
Anyone caught flying their broomstick above the height limit faces arrest and a hefty R500,000 fine, the country’s Civil Aviation Authorities said this week.
According to the Corporate Affairs Sabelo Dlamini‘A witch on a broomstick should not fly above the [150-metre] limit,"

Sikhuphe is an on-going project to build an ‘international airport’ in the wilderness in Swaziland. Since the idea for the airport was first raised by King Mswati, who rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, more than 10 years ago independent observers have called it a waste of resources.

One doesn't have to wonder why the king who has a jet has decided he needs an international airport. I am guessing he also has a reason for building it in the wilderness.
In 2003, the International Monetary Fund said it should not be built because it would divert funds away from much needed projects to fight poverty in Swaziland. About seven in ten of King Mswati’s 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty, earning less than US$2 per day.

It would seem 10 years hasn't changed anything.
Meanwhile, the king has a lavish lifestyle, including a personal fortune, once estimated by Forbes magazine to be US$200 million, 13 palaces, a private jet and fleets of top-of-the range Mercedes and BMW cars.

What the King really needs now is an international travel ban.
Solomon Dube, Director of SWACAA was reported by local media saying Swaziland needed a national airline because every time he went abroad to market the new airport, ‘reputable airlines’ demanded that the kingdom should have a national airline which would ferry, on-transit passengers.

Ferry them where exactly ? 

" Swaziland is a small country, no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west."
He said they wanted to buy a 90- to 100-seater jet that would cost around E700 million.

I actually would have concerns about flying Swazi Air or what ever the fuck they decide to call it. I am betting that it will probably have a major aviation incident with one of those low flying witches. 

The Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, reported Dube saying big airliners agreed ‘in principle’ to bring passengers to Swaziland but wanted to know if these passengers would not be stuck in the kingdom.

I think that the big airlines would do better by their customers by not taking them to Swaziland. As for getting stuck there it doesn't bare thinking about. 
‘They all demand that we have a national airline that will transport the many passengers they would be transporting from all over the world to Southern Africa,’ he said.

‘They want us to distribute passengers from Europe to Sikhuphe Airport if they are travelling to places like Zimbabwe and Botswana for example,’ he said.

I think I can see a flaw in this plan. Sir Seretse Khama International airport and Harare International Airport

‘They tell us that they do not want their important passengers to be stranded in a Third World country and, therefore, if we want them to use our airport, we should also have a national airline which they would work with.’
Dube did not reveal how many aircraft would be needed to fulfil this role.

It might be cheaper to get the witches to help out.
Dube and the Swazi Government have forgotten one important point. The only reason passengers would fly to Swaziland was because they kingdom was their final destination. If they wanted to go to some other country in southern Africa they would fly into airports in neighbouring South Africa and take already existing routes to their intended destination.

That flaw in the cunning plan again.
So, setting up a national airline for Swaziland would have no effect on that.
Dube has made a number of unsustainable statements in an attempt to ‘talk-up’ the airport and its usefulness.
Last month (October 2013) he claimed SWACAA had targeted small and medium business travellers to use the airport. He said low-cost airlines were interested in using Sikhuphe for business travellers who might want to fly to nearby countries ‘on a daily basis’.

Batshit crazy ?
It was, of course, fanciful, since there is an existing airport at Matsapha and if there was such a market it would already be met.
Dube insisted last month that Sikhuphe would be operational by the end of October 2013, but there are no signs that it is. To date no international airline has announced it intends to use Sikhuphe when it eventually opens.

Regicide please.


  1. What? A 90 to 100-seater jet?

    That would barely seat half of his wives!

    1. Yes. But he already has a jet for them. It makes me laugh that it would be impossible for our queen to own a jet as it would be considered an extravagance, yet this guy does.

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