n the midst of harsh financial conditions worldwide, Botswana Police Service is in the process of acquiring a brand new top-of-the-range Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft valued at more than P80 million, The Business Weekly & Review has established
Procurement of the aircraft was approved last month by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) for a deal that will be conducted by Absolute Aviation Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
Research shows that the Beechcraft King Air 360 was first introduced in August 2020 and certified in October 2020. Its current market price is $8.39 million (the equivalent of P88.7 million), excluding agent fees. The 11-seater aircraft is expected to arrive in Botswana in early 2022 and will be used mainly to transport important personnel and cargo.
The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has told The Business Weekly & Review that in spite of the current economic downturn that has been exacerbated by COVID-19, the aircraft is “a must-get” to combat the country’s growing rate of crime.
“Botswana Police has only helicopters and not a single plane,” Minister Mmusi said. “The plane they are in the process of buying will be used to deploy officers around the country within a short time. Crime is on the up and this plane will be used to quickly mobilise officers.”
The Director of the Air Support Branch of BPS, Senior Assistant Commissioner Arthur Johnson, says the aircraft will improve police efficiency and aid rapid response. “Helicopters are slow and cannot stay in the air for more than two-and-a-half hours,” Johnson noted in an interview.
Asked about rumours that the aircraft will be for the exclusive use by the Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe and his entourage, Johnson answered: “It will be used for operations; any type of police operations, including those that may require flying the Commissioner. It is true that the aircraft is mostly used for VIPs but it all comes down to specifications and fittings. Our specifications include fittings for operations.”