Kenya Airways flight to Johannesburg was forced to land in Botswana early this week following bad weather at OR Tambo International Airport, which delayed landing for dozens of aircraft, congesting the airspace.

The flight operated by Boeing 787-8, was forced to change course and diverted to Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone just a few minutes before touching down in Johannesburg.

Strong winds at ORT congested the airspace and the KQ flight was instructed by the ATC to hold for some time before they would be cleared to land.

“The winds were strong and favouring runway 03, then within 30 minutes shifted to runway 21, our flight was advised that they were number 16 in sequence and we could not hold aircraft for that long in the air due to fuel so we diverted to Gaborone for refueling,” said KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka.

This was the first time since 2016 that a Kenya Airways flight touched down in Gaborone, albeit for a technical reason.

Kenya Airways operates direct flights to OR Tambo from JKIA every day. The carrier also flies to Cape Town via Livingstone in Zambia, making South Africa one of its key routes in the continent.

The airline flies high-capacity 787 Dreamliner to Johannesburg and utilizes the Embraer 190 to Cape Town.

The carrier enjoys the third freedom in Zambia as it is allowed to drop and pick up passengers in Livingstone on its way to Cape Town.

The third freedom in aviation is simply a right or privilege, with respect to scheduled international air services, granted by one State to another State to land, in the territory of the first State and drop and pick passengers to a third country.