Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

11 January 2013

Namibia: Air Namibia's New Aircraft to Be in Service Soon

Photo: Fastjet
An artist's impression of a Fastjet Airbus.

Air Namibia's Recently Acquired Aircraft, the Airbus A319 100, is still to take to the skies pending finalisation of all necessary documentations and processes, the national airline has said.

The Head of Corporate Communications at Air Namibia, Paulus Nakawa told The Economist this week that the aircraft will soon take to the skies once all documentations have been finalised.

Nakawa said: "Buying a new plane is not like buying a car. A lot need to be done in terms of finalising all the necessary documentations with the regulatory authorities and other stakeholders. Once this is done, the new bird will start flying the Namibian flag high as part of our mandate to provide excellent air transport services to the flying public and esteemed passengers."

Air Namibia last week received the first of its two A319s Airbus eco-efficient aircraft to replace the Boeing 737-500s as part of a regional fleet modernisation programme.

Built specifically to Air Namibia's specifications, the new aircraft seat 112 passengers in a two-class layout, bringing new levels of comfort to the airline's regional routes such Accra, Lusaka, Harare, Gaborone, Cape Town, Luanda and Johannesburg.

Air Namibia has been an Airbus operator since 2006. Its long-haul fleet comprises two leased A340-300 aircraft deployed on its Windhoek-Frankfurt route while two leased A319s currently service its regional routes.

Nakawa says the current, new and future Airbus aircraft share a unique cockpit and operational commonality.

"This was designed and developed to allow airlines to use the same pool of pilots, cabin crew and maintenance engineers. In turn, this delivers greater operational flexibility and results in significant cost savings.

"With its superior performance, economics, passenger cabin comfort and quick turn-around times, the A319 is the best possible aircraft for carriers like Air Namibia committed to optimising costs while ensuring a great flight experience for passengers," he said.

The Managing Director of Air Namibia, Theo Namases added: "Our in-service experience with Airbus aircraft has confirmed that the A319 is the ideal aircraft for Air Namibia's regional routes. Normally these planes have 126 seats, but we have taken care of the comfort of the passengers by removing one row of seats. The efficiency of our new aircraft, together with their commonality with our existing fleet will provide a strong basis for our continued growth and contribution to Namibia's tourism industry."

Air Namibia's new A319s will replace the Boeing 737-500s currently in service. The airline has configured its new Airbus planes in a comfort enhanced layout featuring 16 business class seats with a generous legroom of 54 inches, and 96 seats earmarked for economy class with a 32 inch seat pitch.

The A319 is a member of the A320 Family, which also includes the A318, A320 and A321 and is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family.The aircraft feature the latest technology available today, the widest and most comfortable cabin, and the highest degree of operational commonality.

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An artist's impression of a Fastjet Airbus.

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