Thursday, August 13, 2020

The root of the fleet and all at Air Botswana

Government has not given up on giving a share to partners who may want to buy into the national airliner, Air Botswana, and talks are still on.

Air Botswana board of directors came up with a few possible scenarios including the option to seek an international partner.

Air Botswana appointed a consultant from IATA earlier this year to help develop a strategy and business plan. Government had previously acknowledged that the national carrier continues to be a problem as the company is running short of adequate fleet to fly all its routes.

The re-fleeting at Air Botswana and the hiring of flights to stand in for the non-functioning aircrafts has proven to be very costly. Another challenge is that Air Botswana is bankrupt and it is usually bailed out by government from time to time.

Air Botswana board chairman General Tebogo Masire confirmed a few possible scenarios including the option to seek an international partner.

Currently the number of Air Botswana aircrafts have gone down from a total of eight to only  four which are of low value as most of them have been purchased as second hand aircrafts from other international companies; of some of them are about 20 years old.

The airline has been operating at a loss of P165 million loss as of March 2015. The other main challenges has been the equipment failure and also attributed P90 million of the total loss to maintenance costs. 

A number of aircrafts in the airline’s fleet were old and had been going through heavy airframe maintenance checks, and most were grounded for good.

It is believed that the appointment of the Air Botswana General Manager (GM) has put on hold way for developments. “Regarding the recruitment of General Manager, the process has been concluded and a recommendation sent to the Ministry,” said Masire.

He stated that the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Transport and Communications would be better placed to give an update on that.

When contacted on Thursday, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Transport and Communications Neil Fit said: “I have purely agreed on a mutual separation with my employer and I cannot give further details for my resignation.”

Elias Magosi is transferred from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism to the Ministry of Transport and Communications as Permanent Secretary.

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