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The story so far | Reputation for quality | Mission statement

The story so far

When the former Bechuanaland Protectorate achieved independence from Britain in 1966 and became the republic of Botswana, the concept of the new nation having its own airline was only a dream.

It would be more than twenty years before that dream became the reality of a national airline in the true sense.But if it took a long time to turn plans into planes, the job was very well done. Today Air Botswana enjoys a wide reputation - quite disproportionate to its modest size - as a model, quality African airline.

After operating unprofitably for several years under different names, entirely dependent on Government support and outside expertise, the turning point came in April 1988 with the creation of Air Botswana Corporation as a parastatal entity under the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications.

This was the birth of the national carrier.

With a bold vision of the future and the full backing of its shareholder, the Government, Air Botswana embarked on concerted development. Within five years it had acquired a fleet of modern aircraft, built excellent engineering, operations and administration facilities, adopted the rigorous UK Civil Aviation Authority operating standards, installed an international computer reservations system, and implemented a comprehensive citizen development programme throughout the organisation.

It is doubtful whether any other national airline in the world has been built, almost from scratch, so rapidly.

The fledgling carrier incurred losses over the next five years and the decision was taken in 1994 to reorganise and recapitalise Air Botswana in preparation for privatisation.

At the same time a financial restructuring involving the write-off of accumulated losses and the conversion of Government debts into equity was approved.

Two conditions for this recapitalisation were that the airline must achieve profitability within two years and that it should then take steps for its own privatisation. Both requirements were met. In March 1997 the Air Botswana board approved the privatisation strategy, followed later that year by Government endorsement.

But the vision could not become a reality until March 2000 when Parliament approved the Draft Privatisation Policy for Botswana - Government Paper No.1 of 2000. This was the signal for the privatisation of Air Botswana to begin immediately and concertedly. Within weeks the agreement with the International Finance Corporation was signed.

As the private sector arm of the World Bank, the IFC promotes and assists the growth of the private sector in developing countries through the provision of financing and advisory services. Based in Washington, it is a multilateral agency of which Botswana is a member and is represented on the board.

The IFC plays a leading role in promoting privatisation in Africa. Its successes include acting as lead financial adviser in the successful privatisation of Kenya Airways in 1996, regarded as a model transaction.

Based in Washington, it is a multilateral agency of which Botswana is a member and is represented on the board

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