Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo on Friday expressed disappointment at Air Botswana’s poor performance and urged the national airliner to up its game aggressively in order to improve service delivery and profitability.
“I was very disappointed by recent media reports regarding the performance of Air Botswana. It’s high time the national airliner ups its game and performs up to expectations,” he said.
Speaking on Friday during the official launch and commissioning of Air Botswana’s new cargo and ground handling equipment, Mabeo said as a ground handler, the national airliner that needs to demonstrate its capability and capacity to deal with large numbers of people. He further said Air Botswana is under pressure because it is preparing to become the ground handler for new airlines that will be flying into SSKIA, some of which have already announced their intentions to fly to Gaborone.
“These airlines fly big jets that carry a lot of people, and you must be ready to give them quality service,” said Mabeo.
“Aviation transport plays a critical role in modern economies, including the growing economies of the world. As an example, air transport contributes over USD400billion a year to global GDP directly. This rises to about USD700bln if you add indirect and induced impacts,” he said.
To that extent, said Mabeo, the government of Botswana found it necessary to resource Air Botswana by providing ground handling equipment.
“It is also the government’s intention to refleet Air Botswana,” he said.
Mabeo further said it is no longer business as usual because Air Botswana has to identify innovative ways through which it can stay competitive and relevant. He pointed out that the relocation of the Diamond Trading Company has presented Botswana with a huge opportunity that Air Botswana must use to capture new world markets.
“Nowadays we have international diamond dealers travelling in and out of the country. It is for this very reason that Air Botswana optimized its cargo operations and moved to this new world class facility. A vibrant aviation industry is crucial to Botswana’s prosperity. Aviation is not just a beneficiary of economic growth, it creates growth. That’s why we want our airline to flourish,” he said.