Air Namibia’s troubles mount …as transportation commission seeks its license

Andrew Kathindi

Air Namibia’s troubles could be compounded after a source at the Transportation Commission of Namibia (TCN), revealed that an application to revoke the airline’s license is still to go ahead.

“A lot of events have overtaken everything, and that will be guided by that. But as it stands, the matter is still in court, it’s not done yet,” revealed the source.

A court matter heard on 2 February to revoke Air Namibia’s license was postponed to 12 March. This is the second attempt by the commission to cancel the national flag carrier’s license over the last twelve months.

Last July, the TCN suspended Air Namibia’s license citing safety concerns and a growing cash hole. The decision was overturned at the last minute by the High Court. “Air Namibia will be afforded an opportunity until Wednesday, 22 July 2020 to provide the Commission with evidence of having obtained funding to meet the requirements of the Air Services Acts,” Chairperson of the Transportation Commission of Namibia Eldorette Harmse at the time had said.

The revelations comes after a cabinet decision recently opted to voluntarily liquidate the airline. Last week a mass demonstration was held, led by the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), that in a petition demanded for the immediate removal of Public Enterprises minister, Leon Jooste, and that Cabinet’s decision on Air Namibia be reversed.

While Swapo Secretary-General and Cabinet member, Sophia Shaningwa, said that the petition will be studied, President Hage Geingob earlier this week re-affirmed Government’s stance on the fate of Air Namibia.

“Even those who were saying Air Namibia must be liquidated are now turning around to say don’t liquidate. Air Namibia is a problem to all [of] us. We love it, but reality is reality. We have a financial crisis. We have to look where we can cut. And if there’s a wasteful thing like Air Namibia has been doing, we must address that. It doesn’t mean in the future maybe we’re not going to have a new leaner airline, well managed. But at the moment it is difficult to bail out Air Namibia,” said Geingob.

To add to its woes, the Namibian Sun reported this week that the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) had filed an urgent application for the liquidation of the airline, claiming the company owes it in excess of N$714 million.

On Thursday 18 February, Air Namibia also failed to honor a settlement agreement with Challenge Air.

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