Air Namibia liquidation came as blessing for international airlines

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The shutdown of Air Namibia barely left a gap on flying routes, as those that were serviced by Air Namibia, continue to be covered by airlines such as Eurowings Discover, Airlink and Fly Namibia among others.

Namibia Airports Company (NAC) spokesperson, Dan Kamati says that the country is expecting Qatar Airways to resume its flights to Hosea Kutako International Airport on 25 June, which augurs well for growth in international routes.

In addition to flight schedules of Fly Namibia, Airlink, Eurowings and Ethiopian Airlines has increased its weekly flights to Windhoek from four to five and Angola’s TAEG airline also increase its weekly flights to Windhoek from two to three since the end of March.

Airlink currently operates about 45 flights between Namibia and South Africa per week.

In the absence of Air Namibia, Research firm Simonis Storm monthly publication says hospitality sector’s outlook remains positive, as there is an increased inflow of foreign arrivals due to these airlines increasing operations to Namibia.

According to the Hospitality Association of Namibia, the national occupancy rate in March 2022 was 28.6 percent, up from 20.1 percent in March 2021 and 25.4 percent in March 2020.

This is the highest national occupancy rate since December 2021, but it is still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

According to Simonis Storm, the proportion of Namibians visiting local tourism establishments is declining, as Namibians account for 43.7 percent of all visitors in March 2022. The majority of visitors in March 2022 came from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (27.9 percent), South Africa (12 percent), France (3.6 percent) and Benelux (2.04 percent).

‘’Both hotels with fewer than 30 rooms and those with more than 30 rooms had the highest occupancy rates in March 2022, at 45.3 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively, followed by bed and breakfasts (39 percent), tented camps (28.6 percent), lodges (23.6 percent), guest farms (23.4 percent), guesthouses (19.1 percent), and rest camps (15.4 percent),’’ Simonis reveals.

In March 2022, the coastal area had the highest occupancy rate (41.3 percent), followed by the central area (39.4 percent), the southern area (27.9 percent), and the northern area (18.2 percent).

During the month under review, the Easter weekend is likely to have increased occupancy levels in the coastal area.

Namibia’s high season beginning in July is fast approaching, and numerous establishments have indicated that reservations will peak in the coming months.

The report also indicates that the demand from the self-drive market has also increased considerably in recent weeks, however local available cars are in short supply.

Local car rental companies had a fleet of about 8,500 vehicles prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic but currently have about 2,000 and are struggling to source new vehicles to rebuild their fleet in response to rising demand.

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