Air Namibia bows out

Namibia’s national air carrier, Air Namibia, died a silent death on Wednesday (10 February 2021). The death knell sounded in the form of Cabinet approval on Wednesday for the liquidation of the airline. The future of 635 employees is in jeopardy.

Air Namibia was founded in 1946 under the name South West Air Trans-port. Over decades the airline evolved under the names South West Air-ways, Suidwes Lugdiens, and before Independence as Namib Air. The air carrier
“Thank you for having kept us safely airborne for 74 years”, reads a Facebook post of Yvonne von Holtz shortly after the news broke late on Wednesday afternoon.
Von Holtz is a well-known personality in Swakopmund’s tourism industry. It is fair to state von Holtz spoke on behalf of tens of thousands of Namibians who are saddened by the airline’s closure.
In an urgent notice on Wednesday evening Air Namibia’s management announced all flight operations were cancelled, effective Thursday 11 February. All aircraft had to return to base. The reservation system for all bookings were also suspended with immediate effect and passengers were advised to apply for ticket refunds.
“I am working in the travel industry for several decades. Air Namibia has been part of my whole life, and it is sad to see it disappear”, a seasoned travel agent in Walvis Bay said on Thursday morning. Adding, air travellers were out in their numbers since Thursday morning scrambling for refunds and looking at alternative airlines to travel.
Air Namibia has been mismanaged for decades as a state-owned enterprise. Not only financially, but successive waves of cadre deployment, in favour of the politically connected, lead to the eventual demise of Air Namibia.
Whether it has been a carefully orchestrated process or by chance, some people contacted by Namib Times argue Air Namibia has been set up for failure, in order to make way for a new airline that is partially owned as “silent partners” by members of Namibia’s political elite. Although names were mentioned, this must be treated as speculation until concrete evidence can be presented.

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