Local airline operator, Mohahlaula Airlines, has announced plans to launch a new airline next year that will initially service the Maseru to Johannesburg route with plans to extend to other destinations in South Africa in the near future.
Mohahlaula Airlines is one of two Lesotho companies holding an airline operating certificate (AOC) which allows the company to apply and operate a fully-fledged local airline out of Maseru.
Mohahlaula is the second local airline, after the collapsed of Maluti Sky six years ago.
â€œâ€¦meaning that not only will we connect locals to business and leisure opportunities outside of Lesotho, but we will open up employment opportunities for locals wanting to get into aviation,â€ they said.
In an exclusive interview with Newsday Business this week, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mohahlaula Airlines, Phafane Nkotsi, said they were thrilled by their ambitious plan to launch a new route outside.
Nkotsi said an airline connecting Lesotho and Johannesburg was desperately needed as the country continues to grow economically, while tourism activities are picking up momentum after the coronavirus pandemic.
â€œWe are looking forward to playing an essential role in driving Lesothoâ€™s socio-economic growth,â€ the CEO said.
He also mentioned that, during the past two years, the company has been operating private charter and cargo flights in and out of Maseru.
Mohahlaula will also launch an Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) beginning of quarter one, 2023.
â€œThis opens a whole new world for locals,â€ Nkotsi said.
â€œThis is an exciting time for Lesothoâ€™s aviation industry and most importantly for the Lesotho traveling public who will now have a choice to fly on a local airline that is competitively priced, convenient and reliable,â€ he added.
In a press statement released earlier this week, Mohahlaula Airlines indicated that the scrapping of Covid restrictions has opened up the meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) industry with conferences and events being put back on the business calendar.
Also, according to the statement, overseas visitors are already booking their December holiday trips to Southern Africa.
â€œIt is planned that the new airline will operate three Embraer 145 aircrafts which carry 45-50 passengers at a time. The Embraer is a well-known and widely used commuter carrier,â€ the statement said.
Mohahlaula was certified as an air operator by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) on February 24, 2020, after successfully submitting its application, making the necessary amendments and undergoing base inspection and flight demonstrations.
The DCA is charged with the task of regulating the aviation industry in Lesotho.