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Drastic losses

President wants Air Namibia to be liquidated

The national airline of the African country has been operating for years only thanks to bailouts by the state. Now the President of Namibia threatens to put Air Namibia to an end.

Tis Meyer/Planepics.org

Air Namibia’s A319: The future is uncertain.

Even before the corona crisis things were not going well for Air Namibia. In January the government had to rescue the national airline with a new capital injection. The company received 578 million Namibian dollars, or 34 million euros at the time.

It was clear from the start that the fresh money would not be enough to keep the airline afloat in the long term. In spring, the government therefore wanted to decide whether it would make more funds available. In recent years, it has already invested more than half a billion euros in the struggling, loss-making airline.

The pandemic made things even worse

Then came the Covid 19 pandemic and the situation worsened. Air Namibia also had to suspend flights worldwide due to the countrywide lockdown and travel restrictions. The airline is likely to lose 59 million euros as a result, the management estimated.

Now President Hage Geingob has made a statement about the national airline. «Air Namibia must be liquidated,» he said in his State of the Union address on Thursday (June, 4). The airline is not making a profit and must be saved again and again. This could not go on like this. Therefore, it must be «urgently liquidated and restructured». Geingob did not disclose details of what exactly he meant by liquidation and restructuring.

Losses for decades

But the airline is unlikely to receive more rescue money for the time being. Namibia’s Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, found clear words last autumn: «In the last 29 years not one thing has passed in which Air Namibia has contributed anything to the national treasury.»

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