Gaborone — Air Botswana management and the board continue to explore effective and sustainable strategies to attract and retain staff such as the development of a robust succession planning and talent management framework.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Kitso Mokaila said Air Botswana continued to review its salary structure with a view to making it more competitive, especially for workers who possess mission critical skills and knowledge.
Answering a question in Parliament on Thursday from MP for Selebi Phikwe West, Mr Mokaila said in 2006, Air Botswana board approved the implementation of a Staff Retention Scheme to attract and retain mission critical personnel through payment of retention/scarce skills allowance.
"Management continues to implement this scheme at various levels of organisation," he said.
The minister further said former employees were considered a potential market for the airline, and they would be considered as needed basis.
In addition, Mr Mokaila explained that in 2017, four captains who had left were recruited to man critical Air Operators Certificate (AOC) positions as required by Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana.
He told the House that for the past three years, the airline separated with a total of 26 pilots, eight engineers and 29 other skilled personnel.
Minister Mokaila stated that prior to June 2016, Air Botswana operated a fleet of eight aircraft, comprising four jets and four turbo props. He noted that since then, the entire jet fleet was permanently grounded until it was disposed of by the end of 2016.
He explained that the crew for the eight aircraft remained under the employ of the airline.
In 2017, when 26 pilots left to Saudi Arabia and India, he added, the airline was left with 22 pilots while the fleet required 24.
"The two vacant positions were filled with other more experienced pilots who had previously left the airline," he said.
'Management responded to the loss of pilots to competitor international airlines by reviewing the salary structure and working conditions in line with industry standard. A retention strategy was developed. This has yielded positive results as a number of pilots were retained," he said.
Minister Mokaila clarified that in respect to other skilled personnel, 15 were close to the end of their contracts, which management decided not to review, while 12 were retrenched and two resigned as part of normal attrition.
Selebi Phikwe West legislator had asked the minister to state the number of Air Botswana pilots and engineers and other skilled personnel who left the corporation in the last three years.
He also wanted the minister to state what measures had been put in place to attract, retain and motivate staff and if there were any efforts made to bring back those who left.
Source : BOPA