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Air Botswana expects a P240 million loss due to Covid-19

GENERAL MANAGER: Agnes Khunwana

The national airline, Air Botswana, expects a loss of around P240 million due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This has been revealed by the airline’s General Manager, Agnes Khunwana during a televised media briefing on Monday this week.

The aviation industry is one of those that have been badly hurt by the pandemic as it relies on the movement of people and goods.

As the virus quickly spread, most countries moved to close their borders which meant airlines like Air Botswana could not transport passengers, hence an enormous projected loss.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected that the global aviation industry will this year suffer a whopping $340 billion with the African aviation industry set to lose P6 billion.

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Back home, the national airline has not been spared of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Khunwana, Air Botswana started noticing the bad effects of the pandemic in March when international trips suffered a 53 percent decline.

Still in that month, domestic trips fell by 30 percent while overall business went down by 45 percent in just one month.

“We expect a loss of at least P240 million which is two-thirds of the revenue we are supposed to make,” said Khunwana, adding that what remains is how Air Botswana can reduce its spending.

Due to a lack of revenue since the pandemic struck, Khunwana revealed Air Botswana also had to go back to its suppliers to re-negotiate contacts and make new agreements.

As countries gradually uplift lockdowns, but borders remain closed, Air Botswana will start domestic flights this coming Friday on the 17th.

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“We will start on a 50 percent of local operations, but will gradually increase depending on demand,” said Khunwana.

She, however, revealed that the flight will only depart if the number of passengers meets the operational costs of the route.

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