Air Namibia's international ops remain grounded - CH-AVIATION
OCTOBER 14, 2020
All international operations of cash-strapped Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l) remain on hold until further notice, but have not been indefinitely suspended, spokesperson Twaku Kayofa told ch-aviation, while the airline faces a court application for its liquidation.
Kayofa denied an earlier report by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), which said that the international flights were dropped permanently.
“The reasons, among others, are that borders of some countries, to which we operate, have not yet reopened. Air Namibia operates a network that requires multiple destinations in order to feed the network. Air Namibia will inform the public in advance regarding the restart of international flights. In the meantime, Air Namibia continues to offer charter flight operations worldwide,” he said.
Kayofa added the airline recently operated a charter flight to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo for the Namibian national football team and continues to service four destinations domestically, including Walvis Bay, Ondangwa, Caprivi, and Rundu.
On October 26, 2020, the Windhoek Supreme Court will hear an application from the Belgium administrator of defunct Challengair (1I, Brussels National) for the liquidation of Air Namibia. The case relates to outstanding settlement payments resulting from a longstanding dispute over Air Namibia's lease and maintenance of a B767-300(ER) from Challengair in 1998.
The airline also continues to negotiate with the Namibian government for a state bail-out, but Kayofa said no decision had been made yet. Air Namibia needs NAD8 billion Namibian dollars (USD484.2 million) to carry on as a going concern, but the government in its last budget only made 12% of the amount available.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) suspended flights to the Namibian capital for the rest of 2020 barely two weeks after resuming four-weekly services from Doha Hamad Int'l on September 28, 2020. Spokesperson Noor Abdulla Jassmi said in a statement the airline was trying to operate as many flights as possible, but many routes remained commercially unsustainable due to the huge decline in global travel demand. "After careful consideration, we made the decision to suspend the Windhoek Int'l route for 2020," Jassmi explained.
Namibian newspapers reported chaos at Namibian land border posts with South Africa at the weekend as tourists were turned away and told they could only enter Namibia by air via Windhoek Int'l and Walvis Bay. The issue appeared to be limited COVID-19 testing facilities at the land border posts, reports said.
According to Namibia's Health Ministry, foreign nationals must present a negative PCR test result not older than seven days on entry. All arrivals, except tourists, must quarantine for seven days at their own costs.