On 11th February 2021, Air Namibia, a state-owned airline of Namibia in South West Africa, announced its suspension of passenger flights with its aircraft required to return to base.
What do we know?
The Namibian national airline management made a tweet saying, “Air Namibia wishes to update the flying public, trade and stakeholders on the status of the national airline’s operations: 1. Effective Thursday, 11 February 2021, all flight operations will be cancelled, with aircraft returning to base. 2. The reservation system for taking new bookings is also suspended. 3. Affected passengers should register their claims for refund”.
The national airline had been heavily indebted and the company’s finances took a further hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought about a sharp fall in passenger traffic as countries introduced restrictions on air transportation. The pandemic has reduced passenger confidence in flying and in some countries airports have even been closed for international passengers flights, with only cargo transportation being allowed.
However, Air Namibia’s problems existed prior to the pandemic. Many of the Airline’s routes were reportedly either unprofitable or offered only a small revenue.
The closure of Air Namibia means that over 600 staff members will be laid off. However, it’s reported that the airline will still pay their salaries for the next 12 months as part of a severance package.
Namibia’s State Minister of Finance said that: “After considering a number of strategic alternatives, government approved a plan to liquidate the national airline. This difficult decision was taken after a careful consideration of the various options to save the national airline.”
As airlines around the world continue to grapple with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Namibia is not the first airline to go under, and it likely won’t be the last.