Botswana President Masisi’s jet in emergency landing after airport fire

  • Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s jet was allowed to land at Geneva Airport after a nearby fire affected air traffic.
  • A presidential spokesperson said no one was injured.
  • Masisi is in Geneva attending the World Health Assembly, and on Sunday he flies to Davos for the World Economic Forum.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s jet was on Friday allowed a safe landing at Geneva Airport in Switzerland moments before closure due to a fire in a nearby building.

The fire in the building, a partially built reception centre for asylum seekers, according to reports, produced “thick black” smoke.

The smoke made it difficult for pilots to depart or land leaving matters to pilots’ discretion before the airport was shut down.

This happened as the presidential jet was about to land.

“However, the presidential aircraft was allowed to land just before the temporary closure of the airport as a precautionary measure,” said press secretary to the president Batlhalefi Leagajang.

Masisi travelled on the presidential jet OK1, a Bombardier BD700 Global Express. 

Reports say the first assessment of traffic disruptions after the fire shows major delays as 11 scheduled flights and three private flights were diverted to other airports, and there were at least 11 cancelled flights.

Leagajang assured the nation that the president and his travelling party were safe.

“His Excellency and the entire team are safe and continuing with the programme for the World Health Assembly,” he added.

The seventy-fifth World Health Assembly focused on “Health for Peace, Peace for Health” for recovery and renewal.

On Saturday, Masisi had a side meeting with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the World Health Organization (WHO) director.

From Geneva, Masisi will fly to Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) which runs from Sunday to Thursday 26 May.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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