Air Botswana soars higher

Baitshepi Sekgweng
EXCITED: Lulu Rasebotsa, REASSURING: Oduetse Leshogo (L-R)

National carrier gets new jets to revitalize its wingspan

In a bold strategic move, national pride Air Botswana has inked a deal for four sleek Embraer jets, signaling a dynamic shift in its flight plan aimed at soaring to new heights and fostering expansive growth.

“This is a game-changer for us,” exclaimed Air Botswana’s General Manager, Lulu Rasebotsa, in a recent media briefing. “We have been working around the clock since December 2023 and we have identified three aircraft, which are fully paid for, and we are on the market for the fourth jet. ATR will remain part of the fleet, but we are re-fleeting to minimise on those delays and this will avail opportunities for employment,” she said.

The acquisition of these four Embraer jets joins the airline’s existing lineup of two ATR72-600 turbo propeller aircraft and an Embraer E-170 Jet, injecting a fresh breeze into Air Botswana’s operations.

Long plagued by aging aircraft, flight delays, and cancellations, this fleet makeover aims to breathe new life into the airline, promising improved services and happier customers.

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“We’re not just upgrading our planes; we’re upgrading the entire Air Botswana experience,” Rasebotsa declared with a confident smile.

But it’s not just about shiny new jets; it’s about spreading their wings wider.

“We’re eyeing new routes,” Rasebotsa continued. “Around new routes we are waiting for approval, Gaborone-Namibia and Gaborone- Durban we are very advanced. However, we are still exploring Maun-Nelspruit and regaining Cape Town -Kasane and Cape Town -Maun because we are instrumental in driving tourism in diversifying local economy. As the national carrier we seek to provide world-class services to domestic travellers and visitors who come in increasing numbers to do business in Botswana as tourists to experience the outstanding natural attractions in Botswana,” added Rasebotsa.

Yet, amidst these ambitions, challenges persist. Oduetse Leshogo, Air Botswana’s Head of Flights, shed light on the hurdles they face.

“We’ve got three birds in our fleet, and while they’re magnificent machines, they’re not immune to glitches,” Leshogo explained.

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“One hiccup and a third of our flights feel the ripple effect. Add to that the post-Covid supply chain woes, and you’ve got a recipe for headaches.”

Indeed, Air Botswana has been no stranger to financial turbulence, frequently relying on government lifelines to stay afloat.

Minister of Transport and Public Works, Eric Molale, recently announced a hefty sum of P121 million earmarked for the airline’s coffers in the upcoming fiscal year.

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It’s a lifeline that echoes the P166 million injection Air Botswana received just last year.

But with these new jets and a renewed sense of purpose, Air Botswana says it is ready to defy gravity and chart a course towards prosperity.

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