Air Namibia facing eviction over airport debt

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Having racked up a total of NAD200m (US$15m) in debt from unpaid airport fees, Air Namibia now faces eviction at its home base, Windhoek Hosea Kutako International airport.

The airline owes the money to the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) for ground handling, rent, aircraft maintenance and aeronautical services. Part of the debt is also from airport taxes collected from passengers through ticket sales, which the carrier has failed to pass on to the NAC.

A repayment plan negotiated in January 2017 has so far not been adhered to. NAC operates eight airports across Namibia, at seven of which Air Namibia also operates. If the debt is not cleared, the airline could be banned from using these airports.

"The debt has resulted in significant challenges in the ability of the NAC to deliver on its statutory mandate, and has caused an exceedingly challenging cash flow situation," an NAC chairperson commented.

Air Namibia spokesperson, Paulus Nakawa said: "It has been explained that Air Namibia tries to meet its obligations to the NAC within the available limited means. It, however, needs to be stressed that neither organisation can exist without the other.” Air Namibia is the NAC's largest customer, making up 50% of capacity at Windhoek International.

Nakawa went on to explain that the original repayment agreement became “difficult to honour as a result of various extraneous influences such as currency fluctuations, among others.”

Air Namibia was unable to secure government funding last month as the state did not have enough funds. To date, the airline has received NAD10bn in government subsidies since the country gained independence in 1990.

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