The Minister of Public Works and Transport in Swaziland Ntuthuko Dlamini is quoted as having confirmed the ongoing talks but refused to go into details of the negotiations. “We’re engaging Botswana Airways and the South Africa Airways as possible alternative airlines to replace Swazi Airlink,” the minister said.
However the locals have maintained ignorance on the developments. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Louis Malikongwa said he was not aware of the issue. “We have not heard anything to that effect, and the Swazi government has not engaged us in that matter. Maybe they are still in the process of coming to us.”
Mphi Tlhomelang who is the Acting General Manager of Air Botswana acknowledged she had heard the rumour but there was no official communication, either from Swazi Airlink or the Ministry. “I will have to get in touch with the Ministry to confirm it. The Swazis have not yet come to us, or maybe it was a suggestion and they are still to make a proposal but as Air Botswana we are open to discussions.”
Swazi Airlink is 51 per cent owned by the Swazi government and South African Airlink owns 49 per cent. The reason to negotiate with the two airlines, according to the minister, has been necessitated by the ongoing probe into the operations of South African Airlink.
In July, Air Botswana signed a code share agreement with Kenya Airways which began flights to Gaborone in September. Kenya Airways and Air Botswana said the partnership was a win-win deal that will see Botswana benefiting from the superior Kenya Airways network. Air Botswana also said the partnership will open Kenya Airways' global route network to Air Botswana bookings. Under the code-sharing agreement, Air Botswana will sell seats on Kenya Airways' direct flights from Nairobi to Gaborone.
Code-sharing is a common industry practice that allows airlines to earn revenue by selling tickets on each other's flights. One airline sells seats on another airline's flights, puts its 'own' code number on the reservation and advertises the route as part of its own network