Namibia’s High Court came through at the 11th hour to rescue ailing Air Namibia after the Transportation Commission of Namibia unceremoniously attempted to suspend Air Namibia’s Scheduled Air Services Licence this week.
The suspension was, however, overturned by the High Court on Wednesday evening, mere hours before it was scheduled to take effect.
In an application before Judge Marlene Tommasi, the respondents, namely the commission, the Civil Aviation Authority, the minister of transport, as well as government, were interdicted from implementing or taking any further action regarding the suspension of the Air Namibia licenses pending a hearing of the matter on 3 August 2020.
This means that for now, Air Namibia may continue servicing domestic routes. Passengers can still fly between Eros and Ondangwa, Rundu, Katima Mulilo, Lüderitz and Oranjemund but Walvis Bay flights remain suspended due to strict virus measures in the Erongo region.
“The safety of the passengers and employees remain at the heart of our operations. Air Namibia has a procedure to ensure that all its aircraft and ground support equipment are serviced and maintained regularly according to the manufacturer’s standards and has maintained an impeccable and unblemished safety record since inception,” read a statement from Air Namibia’s acting managing director Jerhome Tjizo.
The Transportation Commission decided to suspend Air Namibia’s Scheduled Air Services Licence due to serious questions about the safety, operations, management and finances of the airline.
In an official correspondence to Air Namibia, the commission in the Ministry of Works and Transport noted that in November 2019, it resolved to suspend Air Namibia’s Air Services Licences based on concern about the airline’s financial situation.
The letter stipulated that Air Namibia’s Non-Scheduled Air Services Licence would remain valid for the duration of the state of emergency, allowing for humanitarian evacuation/repatriation flights. However, after the state of emergency, the same suspension and cancellation conditions will apply to the airline’s Non-Scheduled licence.