Monday, October 26, 2020

Air Botswana back in the skies after Gaborone lockdown

The national airline – Air Botswana has confirmed the resumption of its scheduled domestic operations following a recent lockdown of the greater Gaborone Zone. 

The airline suspended its domestic operations in late July following a decision by the Covid – 19 task force team to lockdown the zone. 

As Botswana borders remain closed for non-essential travel due to Covid-19, Air Botswana is currently operating both passenger and cargo flights to destinations such as Kasane, Maun and Francistown. 

“The operation remains subject to the national COVID-19 health and safety protocols,” reads part of the statement from the airline. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impact on airlines the world over including Air Botswana.  IATA projects that the industry is set to lose $314billion dollars the world over compared to 2019. African airlines are to lose $6bn dollars 65.5million and jobs the world over are at risk. 

Air Botswana’s 2016-2021 turnaround strategy, the success of which hinges on three strategic pillars of – Organisational Restructuring, Re-fleeting and Enhancement of ICT has partially been implemented and it’s ongoing while the privatisation process by Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) has also kick started. The government recently announced that PEEPA is carrying a review of Air Botswana’s operating model. 

Despite numerous strategic interventions over the years, some on trial and error basis, the airline has been beset with operational problems. 

To successfully implement its turnaround strategy, the Air Botswana management led by Agnes Khunwana had in late 2019 directly linked the airline strategy to a proposed route network that is based on five aircraft by the end of 2021. The ultimate target was to operate two turbo props and three jets. Currently Air Botswana operate only one jet – E170. 

Apart from the E170, Air Botswana is also operating two ATRs used mainly on the domestic routes. The airline is also looking at making more money by separating from its ground-handling operations and establishing a wholly-owned company. 

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