Africa: Air Namibia stops flight operation to Luanda to mitigate loses

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Air Namibia, the national airline of the Republic of Namibia, will suspend its flight service between Windhoek and Luanda, effective February 9, 2020.

The airline said it cannot sustain it loses on the route which previously was a catch cow for the Southern African carrier.

According to aviationtribune.com, Air Namibia initially commenced operating to Luanda in 1992, shortly after independence. The route was initially served twice per week and through the years the numbers steadily went up to 7 flights per week by 2014/15.

The Windhoek – Luanda route has been Air Namibia’s most profitable route between 1998 and 2015.

The situation changed when the Angolan economy weakened and passenger demand for air travel declined. To adapt to these economic changes, from 2016/17 Air Namibia reduced the number of flights from 7 to 6 per week, then to 5 and by 2018/19 the number of flights was reduced to 4 per week. This route was suspended from June to October 2019 due to viability reasons; services were re-instated during October 2019 to January 2020 (high season).

Mr. Xavier Masule, Air Namibia’s Interim CEO, said:
“While recognizing that this was in the past Air Namibia’s most profitable route, the sad reality we face today is different. The route is loss-making to a level which is not sustainable, and there are no prospects of the situation changing in the foreseeable future.”

Passengers booked on affected flights will be re-protected and accommodated on flights operated by TAAG Angolan Airlines, and their travel itineraries will not be negatively affected.

The mandate of Air Namibia is to be a major contributor towards the attraction and promotion of tourism to Namibia by providing air transport between the Land of the Brave and the rest of the world, as well as operating flights within the boundaries of Namibia.

The airline in 2019 suspended its Windhoek-Lagos-Accra flight services following diplomatic issues between Namibia and Nigeria.
According to atqnews.com, Air Namibia inaugurated the Windhoek-Lagos-Accra route in June 2018 to provide a direct service, connecting Namibia to the West African sub-region.

Mr Charles Josob, the Namibian High Commissioner to Ghana said the suspension of the flight operations was due to the refusal of the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek to grant visas to Namibians, said the passenger numbers did not add up again, since the route was Windhoek-Lagos-Accra.

The High Commissioner said because of the refusal of Nigeria to issue visas to Namibians since March this year, the Airline was running at a loss on the Windhoek-Lagos-Accra route.

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