Evaristus Natangwe Titus
The national airline of the Land of the Brave has its roots since the year 1946 nearly 75 years ago. Despite circumstances that warrant the cabinet decision to liquidate the airline, this came as a thorny welcome to the Namibian public coupled with long-term economic risks and injuries to the country.
Airline trouble is a common global factor in the aviation industry that is vulnerable to many challenges. The experience is evident in major global airlines such as British Airways, South African Airways, the Royal Dutch Airline (KLM), Air France and many others. It is worth observing that Air Namibia’s predicament became very subjective whereas the leading liquidation factor is central to cash-flow constraints, whereas a number of factors could have been overlooked or ignored. While the government is concluding the decision, it is still imperative to examine the possible economic threats that will likely affect Namibia. This article therefore proposes the following challenges should cabinet proceed to implement the decision.
Namibia has made a large footprint in the international market particularly in Europe and some parts of Africa.
At Frankfurt, Germany a Namibian counter is clearly visible to all travellers with a provocative business slogan ‘Carrying the spirit of Namibia’ – a tempting statement that can convince every traveller to consider visiting Namibia.
Not just that, but the feel and look of Namibian cabin crews are just other outstanding characteristics when measured against other international airlines. One can imagine that in the absence of this brand, on what other platforms could Namibia be marketed to potential investors with accrued economic benefits the country is supposed to earn? Surely that concludes that there will be a country value loss as pride and awareness fade on Namibia’s global geographical position.
In addition, with Namibia being one of the economies negatively affected by climate change, and with ratified conventions addressing the carbon footprint, it should be expected that the promotion of a single transport carrier might defeat the purpose of our government’s ratification of these noble international treaties.
The overall conclusion remains that if the economy could withstand all past undesirable economic hindrances to maintain the fleet of the airline, what then is the relevance at this point when the airline has posted incredible indirect and direct opportunities to the home economy?
Moreover, the position of the government is mostly argued on the financial performance of the airline. However, under a home macroeconomic performance, Air Namibia had lifted and boosted many industries to date and in particular created a reputable global awareness on the geographical position of Namibia. We therefore remain with the huge task of uncertainty as a country, and one may ask was the empirical evidence really unpacked and understood in depth to appreciate the future undesirable outcomes of this decision?