[South Africa] Comair expresses interest in Air Botswana
South Africa's Comair will be submitting a proposal to the Botswana government concerning its privatization of Air Botswana, according to reports.
Gaborone reportedly called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from all parties keen to participate in the struggling carrier's restructuring and turnaround.
“We’ll make a submission and see if they are interested in our approach,” Comair chief executive Erik Venter said adding that ideally Comair will seek equity and control of the airline. “We’d even look at a management contract, but it would have to be on the basis that we run a large amount of it from Comair to get economies of scale."
The Botswana government has attempted to privatize the carrier on several occasions over the past fifteen years.
Following a tender in 2003, Air Mauritius and Comair were shortlisted as potential strategic partners wherein the successful bidder would have joined government in each holding a 45 per cent stake in Air Botswana.
Employees would have held the remaining 10 per cent. However, the tender was abandoned in early 2004 after Air Mauritius and Comair withdrew; the former citing a downturn in the global aviation market post 9/11 and the latter increased competition in the South African market.
A 2006 Request For Proposals (RFP) saw Airlink (South Africa), African World Airways, and local truck fuel transporter, Lobtrans being shortlisted. Airlink was eventually named preferred bidder but did not sign a final contract after the Cabinet concluded the deal was no longer viable.