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Air Botswana Buys Faulty Planes

Staff Writer
Two brand new aircrafts acquired by Air Botswana in 2009 for close to P280 million have been singled out as unfit for purpose, a parliamentary committee has reported.

The committee on statutory bodies chaired by Robert Masitara found that Air Botswana purchased wrong aircraft, hence a commission of inquiry needs to be conducted by Parliament on the matter. The committee stated that an ATR 72-500 aircraft (propeller aircraft) purchased in 2009 is not fit for purpose in terms of the Maun Airport infrastructure limitation and high temperatures.

In 2009, Air Botswana bought two new 68-seater ATR 72-500 turbo propellers from New Zealand, each costing $20 million or P140 million.Hardly two years after purchase, the aircraft have been in the news for the wrong reasons.In August last year, the engine of one of the planes exploded mid air at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport with 30 passengers on board before the pilot safely brought it down.

A A month

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later, the second aircraft had to make an emergency landing after engine failure as it approached OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. It was loaded with 47 passengers and crew.

Ex-Employees Milk Air Botswana Of Over P4 Million
It is feared that over P4 million owed to banks by former employees of national airline, Air Botswana have been paid by the tax payer. The parliamentary committee on statutory bodies has revealed that Air Botswana has bound itself to staff loans of up to P4.1 million with Wesbank and Barclays.The committee said that when it requested for certain information detailing how much Air Botswana has had to pay the banks as a result of the loan guarantees, it was only supplied with a list of debtors from the 1990s.



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