Sunday, November 29, 2020

Air Botswana flight delays blamed on grounded aircraft

The national Air Line, Air Botswana’s recent several flight disruptions have been attributed to technical defect with some of its aircrafts.

Air Botswana acting General Manager (GM) Agnes Khunwana admitted that the air line has been experiencing operational challenges of late that have resulted in several flight disruptions which have inconvenienced their passengers.

”Delays encountered in the spares supply chain resulted in the grounding of our fourth aircraft,” said Khunwana.

She revealed that they experienced a technical defect with their aircraft adding that this had a knock-on effect on the route network due to downtime resulting in lengthy delays.

She further stated that due to costs associated with delays, such as rebooking their connecting passengers, providing them with accommodation, adding that the company would therefore not deliberately delay flights.

Khunwana admit that on-time performance is a key performance indicator for all airlines. She added that the industry average is 80 percent. She said Air Botswana has maintained over the last two years, a record of well over 80 percent flights on time, peaking at a high of 92 percent in August this year.

“As an International Airline Transport Association (IATA) member, safety is our number one priority and we do not compromise it for anything,” she said.

She is of the view that whilst technical and operational challenges may not be predictable, when they occur, all staff and especially the experienced Engineers and Pilots put the safety of their passengers first. She said this past Thursday two of their flights returned to base, on account of bad weather in Johannesburg.

“As Air Botswana management accepts that schedule disruptions could have been better handled and communicated to passengers to minimize the negative passenger experience,” she sated.

Khunwana said they have instituted immediate remedial action plan which includes amongst other things, complete revamping of their spares supply chain, capacitating of the Operations Control Centre (OCC) to improve flow of information to outstations and communication with passengers. She added that frontline staff has been further empowered, executive and senior management accessibility or presence especially after hours. She added that weekends have been improved to facilitate quick decision making and schedule recovery.

Khunwana further said the company wants to assure the public and especially the passengers that the airline is doing everything in its power to minimize on the inconvenience caused by the schedule disruptions.

“Passenger confidence and trust are very important to us and we remain committed to regaining your loyalty through our execution of the corrective action plan,” said Khunwana.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.