Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Air Botswana still on route to privatisation

The national Airline – Air Botswana is reported to be working on modalities to make it attractive as it has named amongst the State-Owned Enterprises identified for privatisation.

Air Botswana General Manager – Agnes Khunwana confirmed on Monday that the company is preparing itself for privatization. She said the airline is trying to rebuild and make it become attractive to investors by implementing a 2016-2021 turnaround plan.

“When you sell an asset, it has to be as attractive as possible. We were on track to turn into a profit in 2021 CSFs Strategic Plan for successful implementation of strategic plan,” said Khunwana.

Khunwana said AB is progressing well on the key strategic initiatives. She spoke of fleeting and added that they were to have 5 aircraft by 2021 at P300million and that three aircraft in service which are ATR-2 and 1 Jet. 

“We are focusing in usage of ICT as a way forward through digitization. The intention is to improve operational efficiencies,” she said.

Quizzed on organizational restructuring, she stated that they unbundle operations and added that they have set up ground handling as a separate company. She observed that this is happening in other countries and they are making profits despite airline performance. 

Khunwana revealed that a ground handling company has been set up known as Sefafane Ground Handling co. She said as part of restructuring 135 staff are to be transferred from airline to the ground handling co.  She also said this wasn’t done due to COVID and suspension of services.

“COVID has had devastating impact on airlines the world over.  IATA has said 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,” said Khunwana.

She further stated that COVID started at the beginning of the year and added that to curb spread of the virus, they saw most governments swiftly move to ban travel, adding that it was the best thing to do so as health comes first. 

Meanwhile Air Botswana will resume its local operation on 17th July 2020. Khunwana said AB will monitor and increase flights as demand necessitates.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.