Politicians love helicopters, quick-moving aircraft that don’t need a runway and can get you between meetings while others are stuck in traffic.
But in Britain and Norway, a ban on a model used by Ian Khama – and copied by the South African Air Force – has aviation experts shaking their heads.
Of the 24 countries whose airlines are banned from entering Europe, more than half are from Africa, including Air Zimbabwe. According to the EU, the offending planes are not serviced to the right standard and pose a safety risk.
Air Botswana is not among them, but the national carrier’s furthest flight is to Cape Town and there are no plans to take it long-haul.
Ironically, President Khama’s helicopter, a Super Puma 225, is barred from British airspace and in Norway. This has nothing to do with Botswana, and he could fly over all other countries in Europe, and the world. The Sultan of Oman and German chancellor Angela Merkel use the same aircraft.
The story of the British and Norwegian ban on this one aircraft has all the mystery of a detective novel, but with answers yet to be revealed.