Guest

Air Lesotho

Tue Nov 14, 2000 4:40 am

G'day all

I was wondering what ever happened to the Rossair subsidiary, Air Lesotho. From what I understand they took over Lesotho Airways Corporation a few years ago. I did find only one reference to Air Lesotho, and that was that it ceased operations very early in 1999.

If this is the case, does Lesotho now have a national airline, or are all flights now operated by SA Airlink? And are the only flights from Maseru to Johannesburg?

Cheers

Scotty
 
Starship
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

RE: Air Lesotho

Tue Nov 14, 2000 3:59 pm

Hi Scotty,

Air Lesotho was formed in 1997 following the acquisition of Lesotho Airways operations and aircraft by the Rossair Group. Fulfilling its role as Lesotho's new national airline, Air Lesotho upgraded services and expanded routes in an effort to boost economic development of the mountain kingdom.

The fleet consisted of one each Fokker F27, Beech 1900, Cessna 206 and Pilatus B-N Islander. Daily (except Sunday) domestic services linking the capital, Maseru, with Qachas Nek and Sehonghong were operated with the Cessna and Islander (dubbed Maluti Mountain Hoppers). International services linked Maseru with Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Despite plans to expand its domestic service with the addition of another two aircraft and to introduce larger aircraft on to the international services, these plans fell through and the airline folded.

Currently air services to Lesotho are provided by SA Airlink using a fleet of Jetstream 41s.

Just a bit of additional history: Lesotho Airways operated a fleet consisting of one Fokker F27-600 and two Twin Otters. From its base at Moshoeshoe I. International Airport in Maseru, the small airline had a twice daily service to Johannesburg. It also operated to various domestic destinations using the Twin Otters.

Behind every "no" is a "yes"
 
Guest

RE: Air Lesotho

Wed Nov 15, 2000 2:22 am

Hi Scotty

I thought you might be interested in this story when I went on Air Lesotho about 1985...

I was only a baby, so couldn't remember anything, but my parents have told me the story. We were flying to the mountain villiage of Semonkong (It wasn't Sehonghong) from Maseru, aboard either the Islander or the Cessna. Anyway, the landing strip at Semonkong was actually a grazing strip for cattle. So we could not land. What the pilot did, however, was he flew over the strip and performed a go-around (I think that's what they're called) to chase the cattle away. It worked, and we went in for landing. Apparantely, it seemed as though we were heading for the mountain as we were on final approach, but luckily we landed fine!

Just thought it was an interesting travelling experience...

Tom
 
Guest

RE: Air Lesotho

Thu Nov 16, 2000 8:51 pm

Thanks for that guys...can always rely on you two 

So what is the deal these days when one wants to travel from, say, Maseru to Qacha's Neck? Would these flights be offered on an unofficial basis by MAF?

I did get from another source in Suid Afrika, that the Lesotho government has called for tenders to overhaul the whole aviation industry in Lesotho, and this apparently also includes the setting up of a new airline.

Keep me posted when you guys hear anything.

Cheers

Scotty
 
Guest

RE: Air Lesotho

Fri Nov 17, 2000 2:21 am

heya Scott - I remembered reading an advert in some issue of Airnews, which is a South African aviation publication, that advertised a position to head up the ministry of Aviation in Lesotho, that would also involve setting up an airline. I would have volunteered for the position had I been more qualified and older. But the reason I think nobody heard anything more about aviation in Lesotho was that South Africa invaded Lesotho last year for about a week or so, and I think their economy collapsed, and as a result causing their aviation scene to collapse as well.

Also, in the 1998 Airnews African Airlines directory, it stated what starship had said in his post. However, in the 2000 directory, it said nothing about aviation in Lesotho. So I guess if you wanted to fly to Qachas Nek, you would charter a plane from Maseru. It's a pity though, because Lesotho has great tourist potential.

Tom