Air Botswana (BP, Gaborone) has been allocated BWP165.9 million pula (USD12.7 million) for the 2023/24 financial year for the "refurbishment" of the airline's fleet, reports Mmegi online, citing a note accompanying the draft estimate from the National Treasury.

"…Air Botswana finances need to be increased by BWP35 million (USD2.6 million) from BWP133.6 million (USD10.2 million) to BWP168.6 million to adequately cater for [the] refurbishment of Air Botswana's fleet," the note is cited. The planned funding was yet to be assessed and approved by legislators.

Air Botswana general manager Agnes Khunwana was not immediately available for comment.

The allocation to the airline was not specifically mentioned in the 2023 budget speech in Parliament on February 6 by Finance Minister Peggy Serame.

It reportedly falls under the Transitional National Development Plan, which runs from April 2023 to March 2025. The additional funds for the national carrier will come from the proposed budget for civil aviation infrastructure. In 2020, the state assisted Air Botswana with BWP100 million (USD7.6 million) to weather Covid-19-linked losses.

The airline has been unprofitable for years and has been given until April 2023 to find a strategic investor to realise the government's plan to privatise the loss-making national carrier and relieve its burden on the national fiscus. The Batswana government thrice before unsuccessfully tried to sell stakes in the national carrier to now-defunct Comair (South Africa), Airlink (South Africa), and Air Mauritius.

Air Botswana is currently following a three-year strategic recovery plan (2021-2024), focusing on diversifying its revenue streams by being more cargo-driven. The airline has a fleet of three in-house aircraft comprising two ATR72-600s and one ERJ 170-100LR, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. Plans for a second E170-100LR have been on hold due to financial constraints.