Air Namibia ceases operations, en route to liquidation

Shutterstock / MyImages – Micha

On the verge of liquidation, Air Namibia ceased all operations effective from February 11, 2021.

On February 10, 2021, Air Namibia announced on social media that all of its flight operations would be canceled, all aircraft grounded and the reservation system for new bookings suspended. The carrier informed all of its 636 employees that each would receive a pay-out package equal to 12 months of salary, but all benefits would end immediately.

The final liquidation agreement between the airline and the Namibian government is expected to be made in the following days. Air Namibia would have to liquidate its fleet of three A319-100s (of which one is leased), two A330-200s (both leased), four EMB-135ERs and one B737-500.

On February 3, 2021, the debt-ridden airline’s board announced their resignation after the Namibian government did not oppose an application made by the estate of former Belgian lessor Challengair over lease debts in the Namibian High Court to have the airline liquidated. 

On January 28, 2021, Air Namibia settled to pay $11.9 million to the lessors with a first installment due on February 18, 2021. However, the government said it could not afford to bail out the struggling airline.

In January 2021, Namibia’s Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said that the government had spent 8.4 billion Namibian dollars ($565 million) to bail out the national airline over the past 10 years and the airline still had significant debts. According to Shiimi, Air Namibia had been a flawed business model since the beginning, rendering 15 out of its 19 routes unprofitable.


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