Menzies Aviation suffers another catastrophic court defeat

Niël Terblanché

In a blow to Menzies Aviation Namibia, Judge Shafimana Ueitele of the Namibian High Court once again ruled against the company, ordering it to pay the respondent’s legal fees and denying its plea to return to Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) as the ground handling services provider.

The judgment adds to the legal woes the United Kingdom-based company has faced in its battle to reclaim its position at the airport.

Judge Ueitele’s decision came after Menzies Aviation made multiple attempts to gain a legal footing to continue its operations at HKIA. The Namibia Airports Company had previously raised an urgent application against Menzies in May 2022, marking the beginning of a string of legal confrontations between the two entities.

At the heart of the matter, Menzies sought permission to enforce a previous court judgment from 8 August 2023, which negated the Airport Company’s brief three-day notice for Menzies to vacate HKIA.

Menzies also pursued acknowledgement of its right to adequate notice before vacating the airport, hoping for approval to stay at the airport until such notice was given, even in light of a cross-appeal from another respondent.

Crucial considerations in the court’s decision revolved around the potential for irreparable harm to both parties and the viability of their respective appeals.

The court observed that Menzies failed to present concrete evidence showing the potential irreversible damage they would face if the 8 August 2023 judgment were not executed, particularly in light of the cross-appeal by Paragon. In contrast, the financial losses articulated by the Airports Company were acknowledged, as Menzies did not challenge these claims.

Justice Ueitele in his judgment emphasized the importance of litigation finality, suggesting that the numerous claims from Menzies presented tangible challenges. Notably, the central focus of Menzies’ myriad legal actions was its wish to remain at HKIA and provide ground handling services.

However, the court believed that granting Menzies permission to execute would nullify the appeal to the Supreme Court and contradict an earlier judgment by Justice Prinsloo from 1 September 2023.

The extensive legal saga has seen Menzies Aviation launch multiple urgent applications, with the company coming before Judge Ueitele three times in less than three months.

Parallel to these applications, other legal battles ensued before Justices Prinsloo, Sibeya, and Rakow, amounting to seven judgments from the High Court and one from the Supreme Court.

The genesis of the dispute traces back to procurement processes A set out in the contractual disagreements between Menzies and the Namibia Airports Company.

In the conclusion of his findings, Judge Ueitele expressed the hope that this protracted legal battle will finally come to a resolution.

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