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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Air Botswana abandons Lusaka flights

General News Air Botswana abandons Lusaka flights

Air Bostwana aircraft
Air Bostwana aircraft

Air Botswana has indefinitely ceased operating flights between Gaborone and Lusaka, as well as Harare.

Air Botswana public relations officer Thabiso Leshoai said the Gaborone-Lusaka flights were terminated on November 13 and Gaborone-Harare flights on November 12.

The decision comes as part of a route rationalisation exercise to reduce operational costs on non-profitable routes.

The airline will also reduce frequencies on the Gaborone-Kasane route, suspending the Monday flight.

This leaves six weekly frequencies.

The airline says the rationalisation is part of the airline’s plan to enhance schedule integrity and improve customer experience without compromising its commercial viability.

Air Botswana was flying the Gaborone-Lusaka-Harare route three times a week.

Meanwhile, the high price of jet fuel in Botswana has been cited as one of the factors that contribute to the poor performance of Air Botswana as it is said to be the highest in Africa.

Speaking at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) recently, the secretary general, Dr Elijah Chingosho mentioned that one of the factors that contribute to the poor performance of the national carrier amongst others is the high jet fuel price.

“The jet fuel price in Botswana is one the highest in Africa, which severely negatively affects the competitive capacity of the national carrier,” he said.

The relatively high price of jet fuel in Botswana has been blamed on logistics as well as economies of scale.
Unlike other countries in the region, which use rail and pipeline to import fuel, the commodity is brought in by road in Botswana pushing up the cost.

On the other hand, the low volumes in Botswana have also contributed to the higher price with the country’s total consumption estimated at 15 million litres per annum.

On average, the OR Tambo International airport is estimated to consume about two billion litres of jet fuel per annum while the Lanseria Airport consumes about 700,000 litres.

According to IATA, African airlines made a loss of $700 million in 2015, a record loss that is expected to be followed by another significant loss of $500 million in 2016.


  1. They sang “Ifintu ni Lungu”. While they were busy dancing and drinking others were planning. this is a lesson too that you can’t depend on airlines from other countries. UAE can also decide to pull out of Lusaka and we will all suffer more. let us establish our own airline and let us encourage Proflight to expand to Botswana

    • @1 KK,.. and your point is ..?? This is a commercial decision based on profits. They cited expensive jet fuel in their own country Botswana, not Zambia. The volume of travelers by air between Zambia and Botswana is low. If Emirates pulls out,it will again be for commercial reasons and other airlines may fill in the gap! So it has nothing yet to do with Lungu. These things happen and keeping changing. Is it Lungu who is responsible for $700million loss made last year and $500million expected this year?

    • I think what @ KK Airport means to say is that there was a belief that we dont need a national airline because tourists will come to Zambia using airlines from other countries but other countries will always put their interests first, So for Botswana taking tourists to botswana is more important than flying into Zed

    • You’d say that if they simply refuel at Lusaka or Harare they’d be getting a better price then in Botswana in any case. The only time they will be paying the higher Botswana price is on the outbound leg from Gaborone to Lusaka. How does this NOT compete with a ticket on a another airline… !?

    • It actually has. Let me shortly explain. If Zambia had more and attractive economic activities and incentives to transport providers, business visitors and tourists, then air traffic could increase. This is not random business but it should be calculated. Think broadly and remember many average folks do not think beyond direct relations like (a) causes ( b). Clever people understand the power of strategy and game theory plus of course indirect relationships like if (a) reduces then (b ) increases e.g by 1 and (c) rises exponentially. In think in terms of creating demand and value in the country and you will realize who is ‘captain’ of the sinking ship called ZED.

    • Red hot, not quite. That’s a whole 4 days of driving. Simple maths tells that that’s bad business. I want to get into Botswana by 10 am and be back in Lusaka in the evening fresh for the following day.

      Talk of thinking big.

  2. @KK Airport Cabinet,

    In addition, the other reason for the unprofitability of this route is that the vast majority of Zambians travel to Botswana by road and not by air. How does ECL come in here? Typical UPND dullness!

  3. some comments above…very f00lish…whats the connection between air botswana and and election or campaign time mantra??

  4. They have just realized that both the economy of Zambia and Zimbabwe are nose diving so no need to continue flying in these danger zones

  5. @bwafyaa, TC and Stringer and rizzo, read @Voice of valor and you will see connection to Lungu and PF. Lungu and PF have reduced many Zambians to poverty and many can’t afford to fly.

  6. The fact is there is no business for them in Zambia that’s why the closed down the unprofitable route…that’s what properly run companies do, not like your Zamtel who carry on wasting taxpayers funds.

  7. Apart from corporate travelers, there are very few tourists flying this route. Most tourists will fly to Botswana either via Livingstone or Vic Falls. This is not a political decision at all. Lusaka-Johannesburg is a more lucrative route for airlines especially for SAA.

  8. UPND’s hatred for Edgar Lungu is now out of hand.these guys are now f00ls as they cant believe that a new comer in politics can beat their kalusa hh twice within 2yrs!!!”CHIKONKO MWIKATE!!”as it pains you fi upnd,ECL is busy working hard to improve our lives!!come 2021,most of us will still vote for PF!!the report is clear here that in 2015 African airlines lost $700m and are about to lose $500m in 2016,now is ECL the president for whole Africa?UPND JUST KEEP ON MAKING ECL POPULAR DAILY OUT OF YOUR HATRED FOR HIM!!ZAMBIANS BY NATURE SUPPORT POLITICIANS WHO SEEM TO BE HATED FOR NOTHING BY OPPONENTS!!!you are all dull such that you cant see how hh is avoiding the convention by doing “petitions” in courts which even himself knows wont remove ECL from state house until 2021!!!

  9. Luckily they have a sane government that allowed them to rationalize their routes. I remember how one Zambia Airways MD paid with his job for deciding to rationalize the operations of the airline. Profit margins in the airline business are razor thin (an average of 3% in most cases). Any mismanagement, political interference, or plain mediocrity just dives the entire business in loss-making quarters. In Zed non-profitable routes were kept open by political decree among others, but the liquidation was firmly blamed on “plane-loads” of employees, among other myths.

  10. The only country in the region without national carrier.
    We had Zambia Airways which was abused by KK and UNIP for years. Because our country is so entrenched in corruption KK now is a saint.
    I understand in Zambia only few use the airline but we who are in diaspora as economical refugees when we want to get back home, it’s a tussle.
    The short route iNY To Amsterdam then Nairobi then Lusaka. Even these airlines have been contemplating for long time that they don’t make profit in Zambia.
    Now we always see the president dancing dununa reverse nearly everyday.

  11. Many of my Zambian fellows are really really stoop1d. How can you support our nation not having a national airline? Always being consumers. Kwena twasebana. small countries have their national airlines and we say having an national airline is expensive. Everything worth having is expensive.

  12. A government run airline in Zambia and most African countries can not last because of lack of commercial viability. Look at the losses African no 1 carrier South Africa Airways is making.Its all because of political interference and abuse.Compare Kenyan and Ethiopian Airways respectively these two big African carriers are above sinking waters in terms of viability and being profitable.There are independent of government interference and making their decisions as a commercial entity not as a government sponsored NGO.
    Air transport in Zambia in particular and Africa in general is damn expensive.Its not a necessity but a luxury to travel by air in Africa.People would like be late for important appointments/programs by travelling on road rather than flying as look for saving.

    • Point of correction; Kenya Airways is also sinking they are also cutting on unprofitable routes. please read more. Ethiopian Airlines is doing well currently and it is government owned. the current violent protests are threating the airline as more companies are withdrawing from Ethiopia

    • I respectfully disagree. What I believe is the real problem in Africa is the Mindset issue. We can do anything if we really want to I’m 100 percent sure. Africa is still the richest continent in terms of natural resources, but it is the poorest when it comes to quality of life for many of its people. Think about it for a while, we can start producing anything we want if only we start believing in ourselves and start taking responsibility seriously. Other than technology, no other imports are necessary. Another issue I care deeply about is, Africa’s human resource, young people especially, are ill educated and truly underutilized creating a future time bomb meanwhile living a paradoxical way of life AKA ‘daily survival’. Remember our history is full of lessons. Its up to us.

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