Government says the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) is reviewing an operating model for Air Botswana.
At the same time, the Cabinet Sub Committee on the performance of the State-owned Enterprises has already consulted the airline to determine its future.
Answering a question in Parliament recently from Member of Parliament (MP) for Kgalagadi North Talita Monnakgotla, the Minister of Transport and Communications Thulagano Segokgo said he has no intention to constitute any Parliamentary Committee to look into the airline matters because already there are two on-going initiatives on the future of Air Botswana.
“The appointment of a Parliamentary committee is the prerogative of National Assembly after the adoption of a motion bought to the House as per Standing Order 98.1,” he stated.
Segokgo further stated that in 2017 the management of Air Botswana was summoned to that Sub Committee, which introduced itself as having been set up to “decide on the future of Air Botswana or lack of it”. He added that the committee members included former Ministers; Tshekedi Khama; Kenneth Mathambo and Vincent Seretse.
He said the committee was chaired by Minister Kenneth Mathambo and added that management of Air Botswana was likewise engaged by the Sub Committee as and when necessary to provide any information that would assist the Committee deliver on its mandate.
“At that time IATA consultant was engaged by the airline to determine suitable aircraft for the airline, and the following aircraft were recommended for the airline’s route network,” said Segokgo.
MP Monnakgotla further quizzed on the type of aircraft was proposed at the time and why was it not procured and instead a different make was purchased. Segokgo stated that on the turbo props, the ATR turboprops and Bombardier Q400 were identified as fit for purpose and as such ATR was recommended and procured mainly due to its favourable operating economics.
He said on the jets, the Embraer E170 and the Bombardier CRJ900 were identified as suitable for the airlines jet sectors, with the Bombardier slightly cheaper to operate than the Embraer E170 which was found to be superior in its class especially in terms of technology.
He further stated that the other Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) (Bombardier) had offered Air Botswana a package of turbo props and jets without separating the offering.
The consultants’ recommendation in favour of the Embraer so as to combine it with the ATR which was the most preferred turbo prop, due to its favourable economics.
“I am unable to state whether [or not] there was a Cabinet Committee set up in 2015/16 to determine the future of Air Botswana. I have not found any Presidential Directive over that period or any Government decision to setup such a Committee,” he said.
Segokgo recalled that the Committee on Statutory Bodies was informed by a Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) executive officer under Oath on 19/10/2016 that a Sub Committee of Cabinet had been setup with the mandate to conduct due diligence on Air Botswana working with Comair.