WINDHOEK – Air Namibia says it intends to challenge a court case in which a now defunct Belgian aviation industry carrier, Challenge Air, is demanding more than N$400 million (EUR 25 million). According to Air Namibia’s spokesperson, Paul Nakawa, the lawsuit dates back to March 1998 when Air Namibia agreed to lease a Boeing 767-300. However, about four months later, in July 1998, Air Namibia terminated the agreement upon discovering the aircraft to be materially defective, and barely a day after the termination Challenge Air went into liquidation.
“On 9 March 1998 a written sublease agreement was concluded between Air Namibia, as lessee, and a Belgian company, Challenge Air SA, as lessor Subsequently a maintenance and crew support agreement was concluded on 26 March 1998. Air Namibia subsequently discovered that the aircraft was defective in material respects. Challenge Air was unable to rectify the defects and Air Namibia cancelled the agreement on 27 July 1998. On 28 July 1998 Challenge Air was placed in liquidation,” said Nakawa.
He further noted that a request for enforcement by the liquidator of Challenge Air is already pending before the High Court of Namibia and is to be heard in early December 2018.
“There is a pending matter before the High Court of the Republic of Namibia. Air Namibia provided for the matter as a contingent liability in its financial statements,” said Nakawa. He added that the full claim, as well as the amount claimed (the total of which will depend on a final ruling of the court), is pending before court and is thus sub judice.
In August of 2008, a London court ruled against Air Namibia and its operator at the time, TransNamib. In addition a French arbitration court in 2011 ruled that Air Namibia had to pay Challenge Air for services rendered as well as its legal costs and in January 2015 a Munich Regional Appeal Court issued a ruling against Air Namibia which sought to have the multi-million dollar decision overturned on grounds that the German court did not have jurisdiction for the declaration of enforceability of the arbitration award because the airline owned no assets in Germany.
Recently, Challenge Air’s Namibian representatives, Wilhelm Shali and Anicet Baum, sent a letter of demand to Air Namibia through a local law firm informing the airline of the impending attachment of their funds in Germany if the matter is not settled within a matter of days. The letter was widely circulated on local social media.
2018-10-24 09:20:10 4 months ago