Mmegi Online :: Comair confirms bid for Air Botswana
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Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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Comair confirms bid for Air Botswana

South Africa’s Comair says it has put in a bid to operate Air Botswana but is not interested in acquiring a stake in the airline.
By Staff Writer Fri 02 Jun 2017, 15:15 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Comair confirms bid for Air Botswana








Comair becomes the second company  to confirm submitting a proposal to operate Air Botswana  after Wilderness Safaris last week  confirmed submitting a bid for the national carrier.

At least 17 companies are known to have responded to an Expression of Interest (EOI) call for Air Botswana privatisation in February in which government said it would consider full bids for the airline, as well as joint ventures, ownership, franchising and concessions.

Comair chief executive, Erik Venter told Reuters on Wednesday that they have made a proposal to Botswana to operate the state airline but the company is not interested in acquiring Air Botswana.

“We did submit a bid but it was on a different basis, in terms of Comair operating the service for the Botswana government,” Venter said.

“We’d rather start with a fleet and set up a new operation using Comair’s back-end infrastructure,” Venter said, adding that Air Botswana has “many legacy issues”.

 Comair operates scheduled domestic flights in South Africa as British Airways franchisee.

In addition

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to four domestic routes, Air Botswana currently provides cargo and air passenger services to South African destinations of Cape Town and Johannesburg from Gaborone, Francistown and the tourism hubs of Maun and Kasane. The carrier operates a fleet of four turbo prop aircraft, three ATR-42-500s and one ATR72-500. Air Botswana has also wet leased a single Bombardier jet aircraft.

While Air Botswana has not been profitable in recent years, it has developed a five-year business plan to address this and has already taken some actions by restructuring, reducing staff number and ceasing operations on its worst performing routes.

During the financial year ended March 2016, the airline, which recently discontinued routes to Harare and Lusaka from Gaborone, halved its operating losses to P83 million.

Previous attempts by Comair, South Africa’s Airlink and Air Mauritius to buy a stake in Air Botswana did not yield results.

Government successfully privatised its first parastatal in 2016 when it sold 49% in Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL).

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