13 June 2019

Namibia: Air Namibia to Get Planes Back

Photo: Rolf Wallner /Wikpedia
Air Namibia plane (file photo).

PUBLIC enterprises minister Leon Jooste says half of the millions of dollars that Air Namibia needs to get its aircraft back have been paid, and the Airbus planes should be returned as from tomorrow.

He said this on the sidelines of a press conference held on Tuesday at the ministry's head office in Windhoek.

The Namibian reported that three of the airline's four Airbus A319 planes for its regional routes were under maintenance, and could not be released until payment was made.

The airline's spokesperson, Paul Nakawa, had said although the airline had the money, they could not make any payment as their accounts are frozen due to a pending court case in Belgium.

He added that if they could not get the planes from the maintenance company, it might have threatened their regional routes' schedules if the single Airbus plane currently operating developed technical difficulties.

Jooste said from the budget of N$500 million for the airline, over N$50 million has been released to them, and the money should reflect by tomorrow.

He said the Airbus A319 in Cyprus has been serviced, and will soon be back in Namibia.

GROUND HANDLING

The Namibia Airports Company on Tuesday announced that it had decided not to renew the ground handling agreement that they have with Air Namibia, and also gave the airline until November to pay the reportedly N$200 million owed to them in various fees.

Although NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati declined to comment on the issue, citing confidentiality, Nakawa yesterday confirmed that the airline had received the letter written by Bisey /Uirab, the NAC's boss, on 22 May 2019.

Nakawa said they viewed the message in the letter in a positive light because a client is always expected to air their dissatisfaction, if there is any.

"However, we think this is not final. We hope that he will still give us an audience to discuss and find a lasting solution, which is to the benefit of all parties.

"Otherwise, if we are not given a second chance to continue with the ground handling services, it will be difficult to keep a workforce of almost 100 employees in our employment who are working at the airport," added Nakawa.

Jooste also commented on the issue, saying Air Namibia owes NAC a lot of money, which has been compromising the airport company's operations.

The ministry's deputy executive director, Luisa Shixuameni, who was also at the press conference, pointed out that it would not be a problem for NAC to find another entity for the ground handling task as there are airlines and companies both locally and abroad which are qualified to do so.

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