• September 22nd, 2019

Limping Air Namibia to undergo surgery… Jooste says airline a national asset

WINDHOEK – Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste yesterday said a report prepared by independent consultants on a more suitable business model for the national airline has been completed. 
The Cabinet Committee on Public Enterprises facilitated the appointment of the consultant, who was in turn appointed by Air Namibia.

“This report has given us a more accurate picture of the various realities surrounding Air Namibia and what may be required to restore the commercial viability of our airline,” said Jooste.  He continued that Air Namibia’s cash flow and associated challenges were discussed during recent deliberations at the Cabinet Committee on Treasury (CCT).  This culminated in a meeting last Wednesday of the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities (CCOPP) to discuss the feasibility of the national airline and the way forward. 

Air Namibia will thus be the subject of a CCT meeting, to take place in about two weeks, where various interventions and options will be interrogated before further recommendations will be made to the CCOPP. 
“Our commitment is to ensure the existence of a feasible Air Namibia carrying our flag with pride without the airline being an undue burden on the financial resources of the state,” Jooste said.

At the same event, the public enterprises minister rubbished allegations that he has any allegiance to Westair Aviation, the privately owned airline that is scheduled to commence with domestic and regional flights towards the end of this month. 

“Once again, allegations have been levelled against me (and others) that there is an apparent concerted effort to ‘kill Air Namibia’ and for Westair to benefit from the demise of our national carrier,” he said.
“This is once again entirely fictitious and I can only assume that this is obviously born from individuals with unique agendas only known to them,” Jooste assured the nation.  

The minister reiterated that Air Namibia, in its current form, is not a viable commercial entity. 
However, he feels that with the necessary interventions and operational adjustments the airline would actually be a national asset. 

Jooste also yesterday confirmed that funding arrangements have been made for Air Namibia aircraft being held by technical service providers to be released. 

This comes after the airline requested N$20 million as it suffered from severe liquidity constraints as a result of its funds in Europe being frozen due to an ongoing court case.  

Meanwhile, Air Namibia’s spokesperson Paul Nakawa yesterday said Westair’s intention to fly domestic and regional routes is good for competition and hence good for consumers. 

“It’s a free market economy and Air Namibia has always been operating in a competitive environment. We have grown the market over the years, and shall continue serving our key segments,” said Nakawa in response to questions from New Era. 

“It’s not really up to us to dictate who enters the environment as we operate in a free market economy. New entrants are welcomed to the air space as the consumers will now be offered with viable choices. It will surely improve the product offering on the market and grow the economy further. Air Namibia and Westair have been enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship in terms of aircraft leasing and maintenance,” Nakawa added. 

Edgar Brandt
2019-06-12 09:14:11 3 months ago

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