- Relevant legislation due next month (April) as benchmarking with privatised national airlines continues
- General sales and service agents appointed in China, India, Dubai, Germany and SA
- Negotiations with Botswana Chamber of Mines for monthly consignment of 150t of mining inputs from China advanced
- Zimbabwe’s FastJet to operate services between Victoria Falls and Maun beginning July
Plans to privatise Air Botswana are still underway with promulgation of the airline transition legislation expected to be initiated next month (April), the Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulaganyo Segokgo, told the (parliamentary) Committee of Supply recently.
Minister Segokgo said Botswana’s national carrier is currently conducting benchmarking, especially with other national airlines that have been privatised. “Other privatisation models such as finding a strategic partner or investor(s), the PPP model, are also being explored prior to issuance of an Expression of Interest (EOI),” he said.
He disclosed that in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Botswana has developed a new three -year strategic recovery plan (2021-24) to turn its fortunes around. The strategy will focus more on diversification of revenue streams that will see Air Botswana becoming more cargo-driven.
“The airline has reviewed the cargo potential and identified major source markets (as) China, India, Dubai, Europe, Singapore, Indonesia and South Africa,” said the minister. “General Sales and Service Agents (GSSA) have been appointed in China, India, Dubai, Germany (covering the European region) and South Africa from November 2021 to-date.”
Segokgo said the airline is also negotiating Cargo Special Prorate Agreements (SPA) with long haul operators from identified source markets in order to increase its cargo tonnage. “Further, Air Botswana is pursuing a multimodal approach (both surface and air) between Johannesburg and Gaborone to argument tonnage capacity in order to handle bulky goods owing to the small capacity of our aircraft,” he noted.
“The airline is in constant consultations with major importers and exporters and is currently working with the Botswana Chamber of Mines to secure a monthly consignment of 150 tonnes from China for use in manufacturing of mining inputs.”
Meanwhile, while overall aircraft and passenger movements declined by about 85 percent and 87.9 percent respectively since March 2021, there is now an Indic ation of recovery. “As of March 2022, there is an indication of recovery and we are operating at 43.5 percent and 36.7 percent aircraft and passenger traffic respectively of the pre-COVID era,” Segokgo said. “Vaccines will allow some governments to relax travel restrictions and support flights utilising Botswana airspace.”
He added that following the negative impact that COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry, the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana and its partners will ensure that the industry is back on its feet again. “In an attempt to increase connectivity and travel opportunity for Batswana, FastJet, a Zimbabwean airline, has been licensed to operate services between Victoria Falls and Maun, commencing in July 2022,” he disclosed.