Air Namibia In Secret Talks With Government For Bailout

Namibia National Airline, Air Namibia, is negotiating a state bailout with the Government, but declined to confirm details of the rescue plan discussion. Which is requiring NAD193 million Namibian dollars (USD11.6 million) to restart the airline following the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.

The airline spokesman, Twaku Kayofa told reporters that;  “At present, we are still negotiating with the shareholder about new figures, which are not yet finalised. The article is not the final position of the airline, therefore we can’t comment on its contents.”

He added: “Our operations have been negatively affected by COVID-19 due to the decrease in travel demand. Furthermore, the continued suspension of our regional and international flights have a detrimental effect on the airline’s already difficult cash flow position. We continue to redefine our strategy for the restart of all operations when borders are reopened eventually, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 on global traffic demand.”

The airline has so far declined to confirm details of a rescue plan.

He confirmed Air Namibia’s domestic operations restarted on September 20, 2020, serviced with a 37-seater E135. Following the lifting of lockdowns on September 18. In Namibia’s Khomas and Erongo regions.

He said Windhoek Eros to Walvis Bay flights were scheduled to restart on October 7. Air Namibia’s regional and international operations were suspended until September 20 and 30 respectively, but an announcement on the restart of operations would be made soon.

Windhoek Int’l re-opened on September 1, 2020, resulting in Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) and Eurowings (EW, Düsseldorf Int’l) resuming services, with Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int’l) returning on October 15.

Meanwhile, reports also claim Air Namibia would “right-size” its workforce to meet traffic demand and had recently proposed a 50% salary reduction for staff. The airline declined to comment. “On internal related matters, we ought to engage and communicate with our employees first,”

Kayofa said, adding that crew were working shifts and ground staff had returned to work. Management would be engaging with employees on the way forward, he said. This follows the recent resignation of Chief Financial Officer Werner Schuckmann and Paul Nakawa, Head of Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Management.

According to the draft plan, the airline owes NAD707 million (USD42.3 million) to suppliers. To resume operations, it needs at least NAD49 million (USD2.9 million) to pay local suppliers, including Engen Petroleum, the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and Welwitschia Nammic Insurance, among others. Another NAD55 million (USD3.2 million) is needed to pay South African suppliers, including South African Airways Technical (SAAT), the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), BidAir Cargo, and Swissport. It also owed money to international service providers Rolls-Royce, Embraer, CAMP, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Dunlop.

A further NAD47 million (USD2.8 million) was needed for ticket refunds, crew training, to pay auditors, for the restoration of ground equipment, and to pay defunct Belgian carrier, Challenge Airlines (X7, Liège), with whom it last year reached an out-of-court settlement following a long-running legal dispute.

Source: ch-aviation

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