Air Botswana (BP, Gaborone) has announced the reinstatement into commercial service of its ERJ 170-100LR, A2-ABM (msn 17000318), saying that safety inspections ordered by the local regulator had "resulted in zero findings".

"In order to allay the safety concerns raised about the aircraft, it is worth noting that inspections carried out resulted in zero findings and that the aircraft is fit for commercial operation as of today, May 27. The authority has been appraised of the successful completion of the inspections carried out, and they have since reinstated the Certificate of Airworthiness of the aircraft," the national carrier said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) had announced in a statement on May 25 that it had grounded the jet and suspended its Certificate of Worthiness until Air Botswana satisfactorily carried out all inspections and tasks recommended by Embraer and the regulator and it was deemed fit for release into service. "The grounding was necessitated by the regulator's concerns over a series of recurring problems surrounding the aircraft," it had said without further explanation.

Air Botswana said the decision to ground the aircraft was mutual following constructive engagements with the CAAB to allow the necessary inspections as recommended by the manufacturer: "The airline had proactively engaged Embraer for technical advice over some of the recurring issues with the aircraft. At the time of the grounding, the aircraft was not scheduled for any commercial operation, and as such the safety of the public was not in any way compromised."

"The only clarity I can give is that the aircraft was already on the ground as we were carrying out checks as recommended by Embraer. It is our core responsibility as well to ensure the safety of the flying public, so we were not going to risk that at any cost," General Manager Agnes Khunwana commented to ch-aviation.

She said that Air Botswana had engaged CemAir and Africa Charter Airline to continue its regional schedules normally serviced with the E170. Air Botswana uses the jet on regional routes of up to two hours, linking Cape Town in South Africa with Gaborone in Botswana, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare Int'l in Zimbabwe.

Air Botswana also has two ATR72-600s, which it uses domestically and regionally on flights of less than two hours.

Editorial Comment: Updated with E170 returning to commercial service on May 27. - 27.05.2022 - 15:15 UTC