About Air Botswana
When the republic of Botswana, formerly the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, emerged as an independent nation on 30 September 1966, few could have imagined that one of the poorest countries in the world would develop so quickly into the African jewel that it is today.
Botswana is rated highly for its democratic traditions and stability, its robust economy, its sound and transparent administration, and its outstanding natural attractions.
And Air Botswana has been part of it all. The national carrier has contributed fully to the phenomenal growth of the country that it serves well, and in so doing has built a wide reputation for quality air services that is quite disproportionate to its modest size.
Civil aviation is a key barometer of national development. A country’s ability to provide reliable air services and to handle air travellers safely and efficiently is essential if it is to take its place as a full member of the international community.
Botswana is such a country. With an eye to the future, it is energetically upgrading its aviation capacity, under the wing of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana and with the full backing of Government.
A spacious new terminal and runway extensions at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport firmly reinforces Gaborone’s position as an important regional aviation hub. An all-new airport at Francistown and major airport developments at Maun and Kasane enable these important centres to receive larger aircraft and handle more passengers.
For its part, Air Botswana is committed as the national carrier to continuing to provide world-class services to domestic travellers and to visitors who come in increasing numbers to do business in a vibrant economy, and as tourists to experience the outstanding natural attractions with which Botswana is so richly blessed.
The Story Of Air Botswana
ON INDEPENDENCE in 1966, the concept of the new nation having its own airline was only a dream.
It would be more than 20 years – during which the predecessors of Air Botswana operated under various names and almost entirely dependent on outside equipment and expertise – before that dream became the reality of a national airline in the true sense.
The country’s first airline, Botswana National Airways Corporation, wholly owned by the Government, was not profitable and had to be liquidated. The economy at the time was chronically underdeveloped and the travel and tourism industry in its infancy. A second attempt by the Government and some private investors to operate a viable airline also failed.
Then came the formation of Air Botswana (Pty) Limited as a subsidiary of the Botswana Development Corporation, which was established by the Government in 1970 to be the country’s main financing agency for commercial and industrial development.
Air Botswana (Pty) Limited was essentially a ticketing and ground services company, with scheduled air services being carried out on its behalf by a partner airline, Air Services Botswana, which was owned by South African and Swiss interests.
This arrangement operated from l973 to 1982 when the Government again took over responsibility for the provision of national air services.
In the 1980s the economy was developing rapidly, with impressive growth in foreign trade and tourism, and the Government gave full support to the development of air transport, designating Air Botswana the national flag carrier in 1987.
In April 1988 with the enactment of the Air Botswana Act the airline became a parastatal under the then Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications (now the Ministry of Transport and Communications).
This marked the true birth of today’s Air Botswana, and signalled the start of concerted development of what was to become a model African carrier, quickly earning a wide reputation for quality air services that was – and continues to be – quite disproportionate to its modest size.
A major later development was the introduction of online reservation and ticket payment.
It is doubtful whether any other national airline has been built, almost from scratch, so rapidly and so well.