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Press Release: Air Namibia suspends Windhoek-Lagos-Accra Route

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24th May 2019 | Elizabeth Sasu

Air  Namibia  hereby  wishes  to  inform  the  flying  public  and  esteemed  stakeholders  that  the national  airline  of  the  Republic  of  Namibia  will  suspend  its  Windhoek  –  Lagos  –  Accra  route effective today,  Friday  24 May  2019. Air  Namibia  launched  the  route  Windhoek  –  Lagos  –  Accra  at  the  end  of  June  2018.

The route  started  off  very  well  in  terms  of  passenger  numbers  and  revenue  generation,  and within two months  the  route  was making a  positive contribution  to  the  airline’s  route  network.  During  February  2019,  the  Nigerian  High  Commissioner  to  Namibia  banned  the  issuing  of visa’s  to  Namibian  passport  holders.

In  addition,  there  are  messages  circulating  in  Nigeria about  Namibia  being  “anti-Nigeria”,  with  travelers  being  urged  to  avoid  visiting  Namibia,  as well  as avoid using  Windhoek as  a  transit  point  when travelling  to South Africa. Mr  Wimpie  van  Vuuren,  Acting  GM:  Commercial  Services  said  that,  the  ban  of  issuing  visas to  Namibians  can  be  linked  to  allegations  that  Nigerians  are  normally  ill-treated  by  Namibian border  control  officials  at  Hosea  Kutako  International  Airport  when  arriving  or  transiting through  Windhoek.  Air  Namibia  consulted  various  stakeholders  to  mitigate  the  diplomatic standoff,  but  all  efforts  proved  futile.

The  load  factor  performance  of  the  route  dropped  from  average  55%  attained  during  June 2018  to  January  2019,  to  between 35%  and 38%  during  February  to April  2019. Mr  Paul  Nakawa,  Manager  Corporate  Communications  noted  that  Air  Namibia  decided  to suspend  this  route  for  an  indefinite  period  in  order  to  mitigate  the  related  safety,  noncompliance  and  commercial  risks.

He  concluded  by  saying,  “affected  passengers  will  be assisted  by  accommodating  them  on  flights  operated  by  our  partner  airlines  at  Air  Namibia’s cost,  or  they  will  be  refunded if  they  opt  not  to  fly  anymore.” The  mandate  of  Air  Namibia  is  to  be  a  major  contributor  towards  the  attraction  and promotion  of  tourism  to  Namibia  by  providing  air  transport  between  the  Land  of  the  Brave and rest  of  the  world,  as  well  as operating  flights  within the  boundaries of  Namibia.

Source: gh-aviation

Written by: Adwoa Sasu

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