Air Botswana Rethinks New Policy Banning Firearms As Checked Baggage


Published: March - 2010

You may have heard that Air Botswana had implemented a new policy banning firearms as checked baggage. The information had been posted to the airline's web site some time last month and was still up as we went to press in late February. But don't cancel your flight on this carrier quite yet. Thanks to the efforts of Debbie Peake and the Botswana Wildlife Management Association, the airline, we're told, has backed away from its intention to ban sporting firearms from passenger flights and force customers to ship their guns by cargo.

We first learned of the problem when subscriber Dwight Van Brunt forwarded us an e-mail from his travel agent with this breaking news from Air Botswana and how they were trying to get clarification from the airline. Editor Barbara Crown immediately contacted Peake and the president of the Botswana Wildlife Management Association, who reached out to senior management officials at the airline in Botswana. Within a few days, they had the airline focused on a solution.

Seems the problem resulted when Air Botswana attempted to address a requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa. The policy apparently requires that sporting firearms be transported in a "lockable box." You might ask, "Isn't that what a gun case is?" The problem is that passengers have the keys to those cases and on certain aircraft, could conceivably acquire access to the gun cases. Only aircraft with a facility on board to carry firearms under the passenger level are permitted to transport weapons. Because Air Botswana cannot limit all flights to and from its Johannes- burg/Maun route strictly to one particular aircraft, the simplest solution was to ban firearms from passenger flights and ship them separately via cargo.

Obviously, that would create all kinds of problems for hunters travelling to Botswana on safari. Fortunately, Peake and others in Botswana were able to help the airline find another solution to the problem. A new protocol is being crafted and should be finalized and in effect by the time you read this. Bottom line is that hunters........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: Botswana Wildlife Management Association;

  


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