Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Air Botswana schedule inconsistencies killing travel in and out of Botswana

It is no longer a laughing matter. Something has to be done to save Air Botswana, including from itself.

The airline is giving the country a bad name and in the process making itself and the country a laughing stock.

The airline still keeps a schedule, but does not follow it.

This is causing travelers untold emotional misery, inconvenience and also money.

It has become totally impossible to fly Air Botswana and be able to arrive at one’s destination on time.

The airline still keeps its tagline “Flying your way.”

It is a catch and imaginative line if the airline could live by it,

But as it the airline does not seem to be flying anybody’s way.

One of the objectives that government had said they wanted to keep a state owned airline has been that it would be used to kick-start tourism in a way that privately operated airlines could never be expected.

We are quite certain that more than anybody, Air Botswana has been a hindrance to growth of tourism in Botswana.

The fact that the airline has been losing money for years is something, much of which issues are structural rather than having to do with management.

But to fail to stick to schedule for so long as Air Botswana has done is something that is unpardonable.

If they are unable to stick to a schedule, then there is no moral reason for management to pretend that there is a schedule.

People who travel by air usually do so because it is a convenient mode, among other reasons.

One other reason is that when it is done properly, air travel is supposed to be quick.

Business people prefer air travel because it allows them to keep time and attend several meetings on time.

Air Botswana seems to be working hard at contravening that.

For people who are hard pressed for time, flying Air Botswana is like an occupational risk.

On a more serious note it would be interesting to know Air Botswana’s market share of all Botswana’s air travel.

It looks like competitors like South African Airways and also Airlink are growing their market share, taking advantage of the lethargy of Air Botswana.

Not so long ago Air Botswana announced the arrival of new fleet.

For those of us who want Air Botswana not to die, we hoped that was a game changer.

Sadly that was not to be.

We hear that there is a shortage of pilots as some of them are on training somewhere being put through the paces to start flying the new fleet.

That might well be so.

But rather than that being an excuse, it signals poor planning.

The public was always willing to turn a blind eye to Air Botswana’s financial losses for as long as the airline did a public service.

Air Botswana has long stopped doing any public service. It no longer supports or compliments other sectors. In fact by its delays, cancellations and postponed schedules the airline firmly undermines the growth of business and economic activity across the spectrum.

The whole thing is made all the worse by poor communications.

The public is forever in the dark because there does not seem to be any communications strategy at Air Botswana to handle this public relations crisis.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.