Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

13 July 2012

Namibia: Air Namibia Introduces New Planes

As part of its much touted new business plan strategy that will see Air Namibia turn around its flagging fortunes in the next four years, the national carrier announced Thursday that it has signed lease agreements for two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

The two new aircraft, part of a fleet renewal programme that began last year, are expected in the country sometime in October next year. Currently in production, the two aircraft will replace the existing two A340-300 planes whose lease agreements will not be renewed.

The lease agreements, signed with US-based lessor Intrepid, will be for a period of 12 years.

Xavier Masule, the airline's General Manager for Commercial Services said the A340 replacement was critical to long haul success as it will provide savings of up to N$510 million over five years. The two Airbus A330-200 aircraft will be used on the airline's flagship route between Windhoek and Frankfurt, as well as on future long haul destinations.

Said Masule: "The fleet upgrade ties in with our network expansion and frequency increase plans, using aircraft which are having a combination of low operating costs, high efficiency, flexibility, customer appeal and optimised performance.

"Together with the Airbus A319-100 fleet used on regional routes, Air Namibia will boast a young fleet having commonality, with the Airbus family of aircraft as the cornerstone in our fleet.".

Air Namibia says the A330-200 was found to be the best-suited for its operations and conditions, given the aircraft's lower operating cost, high dispatch reliability, flexibility and appeal for customers.

The A330-200 offers about 26% lower cost compared to its predecessor given its lower Maximum Take-Off Weight of 230,000 kg compared to 257,000 kg of the A340-300. Masule said this will mean lower leasing costs, navigation charges and fuel burn.

The new generation of aircraft also has lower maintenance cost as they only have two engines compared to four in the current fleet.

The A330-200 aircraft offers 30 business class and 214 economy class seats as well as in-flight entertainment and flat bed seats which, when fully reclined, creates a bed that is fully flat.

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