JOHANNESBURG, , June 9 Botswana's largest
tourism company, Wilderness Holdings, said on
Friday it has withdrawn a bid for loss-making state airline, Air
Botswana put the airline up for sale in February, part of
plans to privatise loss-making state-owned companies.
On June 7, the Ministry of Transport and Communications told
a parliamentary committee that Wilderness, which operates small
aircraft under Wilderness Air, was the government's preferred
"After careful deliberation, the Company has decided to not
pursue the matter any further. Accordingly, the Company
has withdrawn its Expression of Interest and has advised the
Government of its decision," it said in a statement.
Wilderness did not give a reason.
Air Botswana has been operating at a loss due to a bloated
workforce and an aging fleet, prompting the government to cut
costs and cancel unprofitable routes. It has already stopped
flights to Harare and Lusaka.
In March Transport Minister Kitso Mokaila said at least 17
companies had expressed interest in Air Botswana, without naming
Previous offers from Comair , South Africa's
Airlink and Air Mauritius have fallen through.
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Joe Brock)