Botswana short-listed six foreign companies to operate Air Botswana, the state-owned carrier, for three years and return it to profit, said Gerald Thipe, permanent secretary in the Transport Ministry.
An evaluation of tenders is expected to be completed by the end of April, Thipe said in an interview today in the capital, Gaborone. A deadline for the submission of proposals to turn the airline around is April 8, he said.
“We want the evaluation process to have been completed by the end of April and the announcement of the preferred bidder,” Thipe said.
Gaborone-based Air Botswana operates a fleet of two BAE146- 100 jetliners and three ATR42-500 turboprop aircraft. The airline flies four southern African routes and three domestic ones, carrying 38 percent of all air travelers in the country, according to its Web site.
The six companies short-listed to manager Air Botswana are Johannesburg-based African Airline Management CC, Air France Consulting, a unit of Air France-KLM, Lufthansa Consulting, a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and International Development Ireland. ComAir Ltd. of and Solenta Aviation Ltd., both of South Africa, were also selected.
Last October Botswana’s Cabinet canceled the sale of Air Botswana to South African Airlink, a closely held airline. The Johannesburg-based company had proposed liquidating Air Botswana and merging the assets with its own before restarting operations.
Last month, Botswana’s government provided 140 million pula ($21.2 million) to Air Botswana to finance an upgrade to aircraft and increase pilots’ salaries.