Air Transport World

A good-neighbor policy at work. (Air Botswana) (company profile)

Gaborone, Botswana-After years of stagnating traffic, Air Botswana has become Africa's fastest-growing airline. An expansion of its international route network in cooperation with the airlines of neighboring countries and the introduction of a variety of promotional fares resulted in a 25% rise in passenger traffic systemwide from last April to November. Before the government took over ownership in April, 1988, the airline was carrying about 50,000 passengers a year. In 1989, however, about 85,000 passengers were transported. And Capt. Brian Pocock, general manager and architect of the spectacular development program, expects this figure to rise to about 135,000 this year.

With no maintenance organization of its own and its Fokker F27 aircraft and crews based in South Africa, Air Botswana long had a checkered history ATW, 12/85). Shortly after joining Air Botswana-previously, he was GM of Air Malawi-Pocock transferred technical and operational activities to Gaborone Sir Seretse Khama international Airport.

Half a year after establishment of the Gaborone base, the two ATR 42s were delivered, freeing the two F27s for sale. The third aircraft in the fleet, a Dornier 228, was retained and it continues to be crewed and maintained by Kalahari Air Services & Charters in Gaborone. Plans are to take over crewing and technical support of the 228, which currently is on a long-term charter to a semigovernment organization that is building a soda-ash factory in northeast Botswana.

The addition of a British Aerospace 146 to the fleet last November enabled the airline to implement a number of plans for cooperation with other Southern African airlines. it also put Air Botswana in the jet age. Further, its arrival heralded the inauguration of business class. …

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