South African-based airline Airlink is acquiring a 40% strategic equity holding in privately-owned Windhoek-based Fly Namibia. The announcement was made on Wednesday during a media briefing.
The investment is welcomed with a belief to accelerate Namibia’s post-pandemic recovery and drive the expansion of efficient scheduled airline services to, from and within Namibia.
The investment, worth an undisclosed monetary sum, is underpinned by a commercial franchise agreement under which Fly Namibia will adopt Airlink’s “4Z” International Air Transport Association (IATA) designator for its ticket sales and scheduled flights, while retaining its unique corporate identity, brand and aircraft livery.
The changes will come into effect as soon as practicable, after which all existing bookings for Fly Namibia flights will be amended at no cost or inconvenience to customers.
At the event, Airlink MD Rodger Foster said Namibia remains unique, and Airlink is well-placed to achieve economies of scale to make it economically feasible to connect and serve Namibia’s smaller towns and cities with Windhoek and other regional destinations.
“This will also support our and Namibia’s shared longer-term ambition to establish the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) as the central connecting hub and base. In doing so, we will help to make air travel and transport more efficient and enhance Namibia’s competitive position as a destination for trade and tourism,” added Foster.
On behalf of Fly Namibia, MD Andre Compion said due to the expected expansion in the Namibian economy due to new engines of growth such as green hydrogen and oil discoveries, the country will increasingly depend upon air connectivity to move people and goods between markets.
“By joining hands with Airlink and becoming part of its global network, we will be even better able to serve foreign and local tourists and businesses. In addition, we will be building capacity, developing aviation skills and creating direct and indirect job opportunities,” he noted.
At the same event, Linden Birns, who is an aviation consultant from South Africa, said: “With the new developments happening here, there are some very exciting things like the green hydrogen industry, which is beginning to take shape, as well as oil and gas. As those mature and develop, other allied industries and sectors are going to require the sort of connectivity that an airline like Airlink, together with its partner Fly Namibia, can provide”.
Looking at connecting domestic routes into the rest of the region, Birns said this will help develop some of the smaller towns and some of the other economic centres in the country, and link markets, both new and existing ones, and do so in a far more efficient way.
Fly Namibia currently operates domestic flights from Windhoek’s Eros Airport to Ondangwa, Rundu and Katima Mulilo, and regional flights to Cape Town six times a week from the Hosea Kutako International Airport.