South African Airways will next month in April start operating in Botswana.
This was said by its incoming Director, Olesitse Moakofi, during a cocktail launch at the Gaborone International Convention Center on Wednesday night.
The airline will be joining South African Express, another South African airline already operating in the country.
It is expected that the airline will operate from here to Johannesburg, and then connect to Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, as well as Windhoek, Namibia.
The airline used to operate from the country in the past but pulled out later.
Present at the launch as a guest of Honour was South African High Commissioner to Botswana, Dikgang Moopelwa, who said that they were banking on Batswana to support their airline. He also said that the launch of the airline in the country comes at a time when there were financial crises not only in Africa but around the world.
This, he said, was a serious situation but they hope, with Batswana’s support, they will manage and even spread further into the continent from here.
He said this would be done with the aim of helping to increase trade between African countries, which he says is still very low.
On other issues, Moopelwa said that he is aware that Batswana might be very concerned about people’s luggages getting lost in the airline but he made assurances that they were working to control that situation, which he conceded was tarnishing the name of the airline.
Aviation sources say that the airline is expected to take financial advantage of the ailing Botswana Airways, whose aircrafts have recently been failing to make scheduled flights because they were experiencing mechanical problems.
“These guys have come at the right time when our ailing airline is failing to perform. They have made a very wise financial move and they are bound to make financial gains,” said the source.
Air Botswana, the source says, is currently under performing to such an extent that one is never sure if ever he will leave as scheduled on any day. Worse, the source says that some parastatals and even government employees are now reluctant to use the flights when they have to connect for overseas trips.
Also present at the launch was the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Daniel Kwelagobe, and a handful of company managers.