Air Namibia this week announced that it has discontinued all charter flights with immediate effect.
The cancellation of the service will affect at least four flights that were scheduled for South Africa, the UK, and China.
Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa yesterday confirmed the new developments, saying more than 100 passengers were affected by the abrupt decision to suspend flights.
Air Namibia had four scheduled repatriation charter flights to Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and China.
Over the past weeks, Air Namibia has operated repatriation charter flights to destinations such as Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kinshasa (DRC) and Luanda (Angola) to bring stranded Namibians home.
Last week, Air Namibia also brought a combined number of 127 Namibian nationals from Frankfurt and London who were stranded abroad due to Covid-19 outbreak.
Humanitarian flights were also operated to airlift Zimbabwean nationals from Walvis Bay to Harare, while various repatriation missions were also conducted in South Africa.
Nakawa explained there is no indication yet as to when such flights would resume, adding the public will be informed once such a decision has been taken.
Passengers may not use their existing tickets for chartered flights.
He reasoned that existing tickets only apply to the normal scheduled operation and not to charter flights. “Charter flights have different terms and conditions,” he said.
The cancellation comes at a time after President Hage Geingob who on Thursday during his state of the nation address proposed Air Namibia’s liquidation.
“Air Namibia must be liquidated. We have a serious problem with Air Namibia. It must be restructured. It is not making any profits and it is just being bailed out. We must do something about it,” Geingob said. In the 2020/21 financial year national budget tabled recently, the government allocated N$984.6 million to the national airline. According to Nakawa, the suggested liquidation will have an adverse impact on Air Namibia’s staff and the tourism sector in general.
“If SW (Air Namibia) is liquidated, it would be bad news for the country, although we understand that there are competing priorities with limited resources. First of all, the tourism sector would be impacted negatively. Air Namibia has been providing easy access for tourists to visit our country while connecting Namibia to the world. It is no doubt that international traffic would decline significantly as those foreign operators would promote their countries as tourist destinations first,” Nakawa said.
He further said apart from providing access to passenger transport services, cargo prices of commodity items would increase significantly. Absence of a direct, regular, and safe service would compromise the speedy delivery of essential goods that Air Namibia has been transporting, he stressed. Air Namibia also believes such a move means Namibia would become secondary in terms of priority for those foreign operators.
“Finally, but not least, logistics is one of the driving forces for Namibia’s Development Plan. If Namibia doesn’t position itself as a prime hub in the SACU region and further afield, such opportunities will be grabbed by other nations. Therefore, we believe that the national carrier continues to prove its worth, especially during these unprecedented times, connectivity is essential,” Nakawa lobbied.
2020-06-10 09:57:41 | 2 months ago