Comair withdraws interest in Air Botswana

Johannesburg, 29 September 2008: Comair Limited (Comair) has announced that it has withdrawn its interest in pursuing the management contract of Air Botswana.

Talks between Comair and the Botswana government began in earnest in June this year after Comair was announced as the preferred bidder in the process. Comair has since not being able to agree with the Botswana government on the commercial terms of the proposed management contract, hence the decision to withdraw from the negotiations with regard to this particular deal. However, Comair is still open to discussing other possible models of operating Air Botswana.

Comair’s exploration of the opportunity in Botswana formed part of its strategy to expand into Africa. Another project under this strategic expansion that is nearing completion is Comair’s venture to establish a new airline for the Malawian government in which Comair would have a 49% stake. Significant acquisition and ownership of African airlines form part of Comair’s expansion strategy. In turn, the airlines that choose to do business with Comair would benefit from Comair’s expertise and also association with an established and respected brand with an impeccable safety and operational record.”

Says Avi Bhatt, Comair’s Executive Manager for Route Development, “ With our record history of 63 years of uninterrupted operating profit, Comair is well positioned to offer expert operational services to airlines across the continent that are seeking to turnaround and streamline their operations in accordance with the successful Comair model.”

Bhatt concludes that, “We are seeing many progressive governments in Africa that have seen the demerits of ploughing exorbitant amounts of taxpayers’ money into outdated concepts of (most-times unprofitable) ‘national carriers’ instead of using the same funds on much-needed areas of social and economic development. In this regard, there are many opportunities for Comair to spread its wings wider over Africa.”