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About Air Botswana
Air Botswana, is Botswana's state-owned national flag carrier. Air Botswana operates scheduled domestic and regional flights from its main base at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport to cities and regions such as Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Customers can benefit from Air Botswana’s frequent flyer Program, accommodation and cargo carriage on scheduled passenger services throughout the week.
Botswana is rated highly for its democratic traditions and stability, its robust economy, its sound and transparent administration, and its outstanding natural attractions.
Air Botswana has contributed fully to the phenomenal growth of the country that it serves well, and in so doing has built a wide reputation for quality air services that is quite disproportionate to its modest size.
Civil aviation is a key barometer of national development. A country’s ability to provide reliable air services and to handle air travellers safely and efficiently is essential if it is to take its place as a full member of the international community.
A spacious new terminal and runway extensions at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport firmly reinforces Gaborone’s position as an important regional aviation hub. An all-new airport at Francistown and major airport developments at Maun and Kasane enable these important centres to receive larger aircraft and handle more passengers.
Air Botswana is committed as the national carrier to continuing to provide world-class services to domestic travellers and to visitors who come in increasing numbers to do business in a vibrant economy, and as tourists to experience the outstanding natural attractions with which Botswana is so richly blessed.
The country’s first airline, Botswana National Airways Corporation, wholly owned by the Government, was not profitable and had to be liquidated. The economy at the time was chronically underdeveloped and the travel and tourism industry in its infancy. A second attempt by the Government and some private investors to operate a viable airline also failed.
Then came the formation of Air Botswana (Pty) Limited as a subsidiary of the Botswana Development Corporation, which was established by the Government in 1970 to be the country’s main financing agency for commercial and industrial development.
Air Botswana (Pty) Limited was essentially a ticketing and ground services company, with scheduled air services being carried out on its behalf by a partner airline, Air Services Botswana, which was owned by South African and Swiss interests.
This arrangement operated from l973 to 1982 when the Government again took over responsibility for the provision of national air services.
In the 1980s the economy was developing rapidly, with impressive growth in foreign trade and tourism, and the Government gave full support to the development of air transport, designating Air Botswana the national flag carrier in 1987.
In April 1988 with the enactment of the Air Botswana Act, the airline became a parastatal under the then Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications (now the Ministry of Transport and Communications).
This marked the true birth of today’s Air Botswana, and signalled the start of concerted development of what was to become a model African carrier, quickly earning a wide reputation for quality air services that was – and continues to be – quite disproportionate to its modest size.
A major later development was the introduction of online reservation and ticket payment. Air Botswana flies you to popular safari destinations such as Chobe National Park, find out about other airlines offering safari flights here.
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Sir Seretse Khama International Airport
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport is the main international airport of the capital city of Botswana. It offers large capacity to handle regional and international traffic and has the largest passenger movement in the country. Airlines that fly from and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport include Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Express and TAAG Angola Airlines.
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Air Botswana News
27th June 2018
Air Botswana - add ATR72-600s
Despite repeated failed attempts, Botswanan Government has not relented in its plans to privatize ailing national carrier Air Botswana.
The Minister of Transport and Communications Kitso Mokaila told the country's parliament on 8th March 2018, that for the state to successfully wean Air Botswana off its dependency on the national fiscus, then several steps would have to be taken. This would render Air Botswana as a more operationally efficient airline that will be valuable and attractive to potential investors. THe actions include implementing a fleet renewal plane and new aircraft.
It is later confirmed that Air Botswana would replace its current all-Avions de Transport Régional fleet of 3 ATR42-500s (averaging 21.7 years of age) and one ATR72-500 (9.9 years of age) with two ATR72-600s as well as an unspecified 100-seater jet.
The airline currently assists in catering Botswana's buoyant tourism industry and its growing business travel niche. It also connects its Gaborone base with Francistown, Kasane, and Maundomestically and with Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and Cape Town (suspended as a result of ACMI partner CemAir's recent regulatory woes) in South Africa.
10th August 2017
Air Botswana worth P300m – Mokaila
The national carrier, Air Botswana is currently valued at P300 million including its aircraft and property, says the Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila.
Addressing Parliamentarians recently, the minister said government is still continuing with the privatisation of the national airline with plans to turn it into a private company where on its own right would be able to raise its own loans.
“The value of Air Botswana today is P300 million looking at its assets being aircraft and property.
If we refleet, it would have a different value and we should also consider that it has developed capacity on its ability to maintain aircraft repairs.
They can become a regional player in this,” he said.
Early this year, the minister said about 17 companies expressed interest in buying the ailing national airline with tourism operator, Wilderness Holdings emerging the preferred bidder.
Wilderness, however later withdrew their interest.
Air Botswana has been dogged by financial losses and poor service delivery due to an aging fleet and high operational costs for quite some time.
Last year, the national airline launched a code-sharing partnership with Qatar Airways; a move that chairperson, Tebogo Masire is upbeat will boost the country and the airline’s exposure on the international market.
Meanwhile, about five airlines have been granted traffic rights into Botswana, which include Air Namibia, South African Express (SAX), South African Air Link, Ethiopian Airlines as well as Air Services.
Air Namibia operates Windhoek, Gaborone, Durban, Victoria Falls, while SAX operates Johannesburg-Gaborone route and South African Air Link operates Capetown, Maun, Johannesburg and Gaborone routes. Ethiopian Airlines operates Gaborone, Addis Ababa and Victoria Falls routes.
According to the minister, the fifth one, Fast Jet Airlines was issued with an Air Licence to operate on the Harare, Francistown, and Gaborone routes, but have not yet commenced operations. However, their licence expired on January 17 this year and has not been renewed to date.
Late last year, the national carrier announced that they have suspended the Gaborone-Harare route as part of its plans to enhance the scheduled rationalisation exercise for the upcoming summer period.
According to Air Botswana public relations officer, Thabiso Leshoai the rationalisation was part of the airline’s plan to enhance schedule integrity and improve customer experience without compromising its commercial viability.
Air Botswana was flying the Gaborone-Harare route three times a week.
9th June 2017
Wilderness Safaris withdraws Air Botswana bid
Tourism giant Wilderness Safaris has issued a statement withdrawing its expression of interest in the privatization of the ailing national carrier, Air Botswana.
Posted on the Botswana Stock Exchange website, part of the board order from Wilderness Safaris reads, “…after careful deliberation, the Company has decided to not pursue the matter any further.
Accordingly, the Company has withdrawn its Expression of Interest and has advised the Government of its decision.
The Company wishes the Government of Botswana and Air Botswana well in their efforts to achieve a turnaround of the national carrier.”
The letter from Wilderness Safaris continues to state that the company had submitted an Expression of Interest in the privatization of Air Botswana on February 2017 and there had not been further progress in the matter.
The Company has been informed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications that the Government of Botswana wishes to enter into discussions with the Company regarding the matter.
Assurances are that the Company’s primary listing is on the BSE and its secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).