The government of Namibia has announced plans to shut down its national carrier owing to its inability to fund the sector due to the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the airline halt operations for months.
“Effective Thursday, 11 February 2021, all flight operations will be cancelled with all aircraft returning to base”, read a notice from the company.
Customers with outstanding bookings were told to register their claims for refund by calling the company’s offices.
On the compensation plan for the affected workers, the government says: “cabinet approved for the employees to receive ex gratia payments equal to the value of 12 months’ salary and that this amount will be disbursed over a 12 month period.
It has not been a smooth sail for the Namibian airline as in a June 4th, 2020 National address, President Hage Geingob said “Air Namibia must be liquidated, we have a serious problem, it must be restructured, it is not making any profits and it is just being bailed out, we must do something about it.”
The 75-year-old airline which operates a fleet of 10 aircraft including two Airbus 3330s has so far received a total of $477 million from the state between 1999 and 2019; according to report.
Namibia’s ministry of public enterprises, the ministry of finance, Air Namibia’s executive committee members, and unions are scheduled to have a meeting for the government to give its stance on the liquidation process.