Following the recent collapse of Namibia’s national carrier, Air Namibia, state-owned Namibia Airport Company (NAC) has welcomed the increased frequency of flights to Namibia by Airlink and FlyWestair. After years of struggle and reliance on handouts from the Namibian government to keep flying, Air Namibia announced on February 11, 2021, that it had ceased operations and was entering voluntary liquidation.
Before the global medical emergency occurred, tourism was one of Namibia’s bright spots. Foreign travellers, mainly from Germany, contributed millions of dollars to the countries economy while providing thousands of direct and indirect jobs for its citizens.
As a country that is roughly 2.3 times the size of Germany, the Namibian government did not mind keeping the state-owned airline afloat so long as the tourists kept coming. The emergence of COVID-19 changed everything and forced the government to reconsider its need to keep financing an airline that continuously lost money.
Namibia needs flights
In a statement released yesterday, Namibia Airport Company CEO Bisey Uirab spoke about how an increase in the frequency of flights by FlyWestair and Airlink will help Namibia cope with the crippling effects of the coronavirus. The CEO stated,
“Air travel is no longer a luxury; therefore, it becomes imperative to ensure air connectivity within the local boundaries and regionally in order to promote and enhance trade and investment.”
On March 2, privately owned South African carrier Airlink started flying between Cape Town, South Africa, and Walvis Bay, Namibia, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Airlink says that the new route, its fourth between the two southern African nations, will enable seamless multi-city travel.
As well as Airlinks’ new route, Windhoek-based FlyWestair plans to increase its flights from the Namibian capital to Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Airport (OND) in Ondangwa from March 15, 2021. Currently, privately owned FlyWestair flies between Windhoek and Ondangwa on Friday and Sunday.
This will now increase to four flights per week with the addition of Tuesday and Thursday flights. FlyWestair also said that starting March 15, it will fly from Windhoek to Katima Mulilo Airport (MPA) on Monday and Friday and Rundu Airport (NDU) on Tuesday and Thursday