The national airline, Air Botswana, is vying to expand its footprint beyond the SADC region, after struggling to make profits in the past few years. “The strategy will see Air Botswana expanding local, regional and international routes and will have direct routes between Gaborone and other cities such as Dubai, Dar Es Salaam, Luanda and others in the SADC region,” said Sakhile Reiling, General Manager of Air Botswana.
Reiling said the expansion is aimed at making Botswana a hub that will actually attract those travelling to other countries to connect in the country.
“We want to transform Sir Seretse Khama International Airport into a hub, a central airport through which multiple flights will be routed varying according to airline,” she said.
Additionally, Reiling said to survive in the international market, they are hoping to rationalize their fleet to be fit for the purpose and change the ATR model to a world class aircraft fit for international standards.
She acknowledged that the past six months have been crammed with a lot of challenges, some of which have started to stabilise.
“We have worked hard in the past six months and have managed to stabilize the airline to be efficient, reliable,” she said.
Reiling added that Air Botswana is geared to face competition in the market, noting that the company has already submitted their proposal to government for approval.
“The expansion will also help to drive the diamond aggregation deal between Botswana and De Beers,” she said.
Air Botswana is working towards rebuilding its brand, which has since lost credibility.
“We want to build confidence in the market again and we know it can be done,” said Reiling.
Air Botswana has since been certified with IOSA, the industry’s first global standard for airline safety management, and is now working towards getting certified by IATA, the International Air Transport Association.”