Another page of African aviation is turning. After the financial troubles for South African Airways (technically bankrupt), after the State which will take over Kenya Airways while it was the first African airline to be privatised in 1996, the end seems to be near for 73-year old Air Namibia.
Namibian civil aviation authority suspends Air Namibia’s licence, citing the national carrier’s financial status and safety concerns, among others. The airline will be grounded this evening from midnight. Only “emergency” flights will be authorised.
The airline was already suffering a long time before the COVID-19 crisis.
Although Lufthansa ended Namibia service a long time ago, the competition was strong to Germany, Air Namibia’s biggest market, first with LTU / Air Berlin, then with Eurowings and Condor. The Windhoek-Frankfurt flight by Air Namibia is a loss-making route. In addition, South African Airways represented a very good alternative to come and visit the country (several daily flights to Johannesburg). Air Namibia ended its London Gatwick service, in 2009. Arrivals of KLM, Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways have put more pressure on Air Namibia.
The Luanda route was its most profitable route, but the Angolan economy started to suffer in the mid-2010s.
Air Namibia tried to create a “mini-hub” between West Africa and Southern Africa, by launching a route on Ghana and Nigeria in two different attempts. The results were promising. Load factors were good and the airline started to earn money, but again visa stories stopped the development, as is, unfortunately, the case in Africa, which hinders the movement of people and is an obstacle to the development of air transport in Africa.
After hesitating on medium- and long-haul fleet (B747-400, B747SP, MD11, Beech 1900D, Fokker 28, Casa 235 in its civil version, B737-200, B767), the company finally opted for the A330-200 and A319 to replace the A340 and B737-500. The Beech 19000D was abandoned for the ERJ135.
Recently the Namibian president asked to liquidate the company. Unions are opposed.
Source: forum member Rwandan-Flyer
The Namibian High Court has overturned the decision (06/07/2020) by the Transportation Commission of Namibia to suspend Air Namibia’s Scheduled Air Services Licence. Air Namibia’s spokesperson Paul Nakawa: “We are free to continue flying. Our domestic flights continue as per the published schedule. We continue carrying the spirit of Namibia”.
Source: forum member Passenger