Friendly and welcoming, our pilots are experts in their field. It is their aim to ensure that your flight with Major Blue Air is enjoyable from start to finish.
Andrew Mantel – Operations Manager
Andrew began his flying career in Maun after completing his commercial pilot’s licence at Lanseria Flight Centre in 1997. Originally he had planned to become an airline pilot, and needed to gain experience and so came to look for work in the Okavango Delta. Andrew fell in love with bush flying particularly in the Delta, and has chosen to make it his career. After a year he became Chief Pilot of a small company with 3 aircraft, Bushfree Air Charter’s, which later became Eagle Air.
Eagle Air and Moremi Air merged in 2003 with Andrew as the Operations Manager working closely with his wife Chantal Mantel, the General Manager. Moremi Air operated 7 aircraft ranging from a 3 to 13 seated aircraft. They managed the company successfully for 4 years before moving back to South Africa.
In 2007 they joined Federal Airlines in Mpumalanga, South Africa as General Manager and Operations Manager of their Lowveld branch which operated into the Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park and Mozambique. But the beauty of the Okavango Delta Wilderness drew them back to Botswana in 2010.
Andrew joined Major Blue Air in October 2010 as Operations Manager. The company is growing from strength to strength in a competitive industry in Maun.
Koos Delport – Chief Pilot
Koos’s Flying career started in May 1983 as a Flight Instructor in South Africa, with Rand Hire and Fly, now known as the Johannesburg School of Flying. The flight School grew from strength to strength, and by 1987 was the busiest flight school in South Africa. He was fortunate to train numerous Commercial Pilots and Instructor’s, and conducted Private Pilot Flight Tests as a Grade 2 Flight Instructor.
In 1987 he left the aviation industry but continued for a further 3 years as a part time instructor. In 2008 he decided to “live the dream” and fly again. Sefofane Air Charters offered him the opportunity to set up a flight school in Maun, with the goal of training Motswana Pilots locally. With a lot of hard work, Sefofane Flight Training Centre was approved by BOTA (Botswana Training Authority) and CAAB (Botswana Civil Aviation Authority), and issued with an Aviation Training Organisation certificate, ATO001 the first approved flight school in Botswana. A further achievement was to initiate the implementation of a memorandum of understanding between the CAAB and SACAA for Botswana Pilots to write their Commercial pilot exams in South Africa.
After the school was set up, he then became a training manager with Wilderness Air. In August 2011 he joined Major Blue Air as Chief Pilot, and continues to do in-house training and act as a CAAB approved Delegated Examiner. Koos brings a wealth of experience and flying skills to the company and has assisted in the growth and success of Major Blue.
Senthil Kumar Palanimuthu – Air Crew
Senthil was born in 1977 and was raised in a small village from southern India. When he finished his engineering degree in Computer Science he left to U.K in 2003 to do his masters degree in Virtual Reality.
He started flying in 2007 to get his private pilot license and then decided to become a commercial pilot. After completing his commercial pilot license at Algoa Flying Club in South Africa he started his flying career with Nayasa Air Taxi in Malawi.
He was then employed by Major Blue Air in February 2011 as a line pilot.
Supreet Singh – Air Crew
Supreet is originally from Punjab India. He started aviation in 2008 and had his first training flight in 10 June 08.
During his training he really enjoyed the flying and decided to start his career on light aircraft and a bush environment.
After getting commercial license in 2010, he joined Major Blue Air in Maun Botswana. He enjoys the flying in the Okavango Delta and is gaining experience in the company.
He enjoys reading, playing basketball and jogging in spare time. He aims to study further in aviation studies and gaining maximum experience in aviation is my future focus.
Our crew are all employed with valid commercial pilots licences, and undergo training for the special conditions found in the Okavango.
Each pilot must pass a Botswana Pilots medical, Airlaw exam and flight test before obtaining a Botswana Commercial Pilots Licence, which is required to operate the aircraft in Botswana.
Once the licence has been granted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana, The pilot will then undergo at least 50 hours of training in the Okavango Delta, before being checked by the Chief Pilot. Only after all requirements are met and signed out by the Chief Pilot, is the pilot allowed to fly passengers as a line pilot.
Every 6 months the pilot must pass a flight test with a Botswana Delegated examiner on each of the aircraft he or she flies.