Air Botswana (BP, Gaborone) plans to buy at least three Embraer aircraft with financial assistance from the government, allowing it to expand its regional footprint, according to newly appointed General Manager Lulu Rasebotsa.

Speaking to various media at the recent ITB Berlin Convention in Germany, Rasebotsa disclosed that the airline is already advertising for Embraer crew but did not specify which aircraft type is being considered. ch-aviation has reached out to the airline for more details.

Meanwhile, Rasebotsa, who was appointed in December 2023 following the departure to CEIBA Intercontinental of former GM Agnes Khunwana, told The Punchline in a podcast at ITB that the carrier is buying at least three Embraers with government funds.

"We are on a new path now that the government has funded us to increase our aircraft, and that means we are going to expand our routes," she said. "As an airline, we are in the process of acquiring and adding to our fleet, which means that we will increase our routes. We are expecting to expand our footprint, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We also think we are strategically located in Southern Africa to be a [regional] hub."

The Botswana government recently announced it had earmarked BWP121.2 million pula (USD8.8 million) in the 2024-25 draft budget for the national carrier.

Rasebotsa said that routes to be added at an undisclosed timeframe include:

Air Botswana currently operates only one in-house ERJ 170-100LR and two in-house ATR72-600s, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. It operates from four domestic points (Gaborone, Maun, Kasane, and Francistown) to South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town), Harare International (Zimbabwe), and Lusaka (Zambia), the ch-aviation capacities module reveals.

The new GM also disclosed that her strategic turnaround plan for making Air Botswana financially sustainable is focused on three pillars: employees, customers, and digitisation.

"The airline has been struggling, financially and in terms of credibility. We are working very hard to make sure that we regain the confidence of Botswana. I think this is what increasing our equipment is directly going to translate into. The strategy going forward is to really try and become financially sustainable," she explained.

She outlined the three key pillars of her strategy included creating a compelling value proposition for employees to boost morale and dedication; prioritising customer experience in the belief that happy employees lead to satisfied customers; and digitisation to improve efficiency. She also emphasised the importance of maintaining safety standards, zero corruption tolerance, and complying with civil aviation regulations.