Namibian airline rebrands to fly the flag

Following the death of Air Namibia last year, amibia — a vast country with a tiny population – has a new contender for the job of national airline. The new airline is called Air Namibia.

FlyWestair, a regional airline based in Namibia, has renamed as FlyNamibia in an effort to revive at the very least the short-haul operations of the country’s previous national carrier.

FlyWestair was created in 2019 as the country’s first privately owned airline and is based in the country’s south-west African region. Westair Aviation, the firm’s parent company, was founded in 1967 as an airplane servicing company.

FlyWestair currently operates four ERJ145 regional planes, albeit it is believed that some of them are now grounded. It also has around 30 general aviation aircraft in its fleet, which it uses to transport passengers to and from areas such as game lodges.

Embraers’ flights connect Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, with three internal locations and a one international destination, Cape Town, which is located in the neighboring country of South Africa. FlyNamibia has said that it plans to broaden the scope of its route network.

A shock to the country occurred with Air Namibia’s liquidation in February 2021 due to massive debts, according to Edgar Brandt, the business editor of Namibia’s New Era newspaper. “It was a complete shock to the nation,” he said.

Most Namibians suffered a psychological hit when the country’s state-owned airline, Air Namibia, was forced to close its doors. In our country, we don’t have much, so having a national airline was a huge source of pride, not just for the individuals who worked for it and the supporting sectors, but also for the average citizen.”

The airline had been continually losing money, according to Brandt, who added that “you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times it had made a profit” throughout its 20-year existence.

No prospect existed that the state – which in September had to pay US lessor Castlelake $109.5 million in lease termination fees for the airline’s two Airbus A330-200s – would contemplate putting up a successor for the planes, he added.

At now, the only other foreign airlines servicing Namibia are South Africa’s Airlink and Ethiopian. Therefore, lengthier overseas travels for Namibians often need connecting flights in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Addis Ababa before reaching their final destination.

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