The Namibian (Windhoek)

28 September 2006

Namibia: Up, Up Go Air Namibia Losses

NATIONAL carrier Air Namibia has accumulated operating losses of N$859,8 million over the past five years - its expenditure for the same period was N$3,24 billion.

Income for the airline amounted to only N$1,23 billion between 2001 and 2005, the first annual report of the company to be made public in at least two years reveals.

Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila tabled the airline's long-awaited report in the National Assembly yesterday.

It covers the 12 months ending on March 31 2005.

The report includes a consolidated overview of income, expenditure and operating losses covering five years between March 2000 and March 2005.

In the period under review, Air Namibia earned N$512 million, while its expenditure came to N$712,2 million, leaving an operating loss of N$200,2 million.

The previous year, ending March 2004, income was higher, amounting to N$536,7 million.

The Namibian Government has guaranteed overdraft facilities of N$81 million at one local bank and another N$35 million at a different local bank, totalling N$116 million.

During the period under review, Government made another N$366 million available to the airline.

Air Namibia had already cost taxpayers approximately N$1,65 billion.

Air Namibia transported 512 007 passengers in the past financial year, while during the 12 months between April 2003 and March 2004 it carried 536 767 passengers.

During 2002-2003, 497 744 people chose to fly Air Namibia.

However, Air Namibia board chairman Pius Asheeke said in his overview in the annual report that Air Namibia transported 275 818 passengers.

"Air Namibia will continue to be a catalyst in the development of tourism and facilitating ease of reach of Namibia as a tourist as well as a business destination," Asheeke stated in the annual report.

Air Namibia also had to pay yearly lease charges of N$28,5 million to the private air company Comav for the financial year ending March 31 2005.

In the meantime, the agreement with Comav has ended.

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