The Eagle Has Landed

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By Fifi Rhodes WINDHOEK ONE of the world’s quietest planes in the sky, the Airbus A340-300 landed yesterday at 09h30 at the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek. On the ground at the old terminal the laughter and songs echoed as cultural groups one after another performed as the new plane made its maiden entrance on the tarmac from Gatwick Airport in England. In welcoming the new plane home, Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila congratulated the Air Namibia management and staff on the achievement and said that there are a lot of financial and operational challenges ahead. She said the key aspect is to turn the company around so as to make optimal use of the new acquisition. She encouraged the staff, the private and corporate sector to develop the tourism industry and to secure trust amongst clients in order to share the benefits that derive from it. A very proud Kosmos Egumbo, managing director of the national air carrier said another Airbus A340-300 would during the course of the New Year be gracing the Namibian sky together with its forerunner. Egumbo said although the plane is not officially named, the turnaround strategy of the company is to accept the ever-increasing competition as an integral part of their environment. “Our search for bettering our respective operating performance requires us to sharpen our offerings through a differentiation of our services and business processes. We are showing the travel trade industry that we are attentive to the requirements of our customers by giving them convincing reasons to travel to Namibia.” The plane is described as very modern in aviation circles. Egumbo said the Airbus is on lease from a French company, Avequis, for the next seven years to help his company to reduce its cost structure. The lease, he said, is at a very competitive rate. The quiet aircraft offers a spacious business class section with 44 very comfortable seats with individual screens for in-flight entertainment. The economy class can accommodate 324 passengers, and has generous legroom. For a safe reliable and predictable service the company appointed technical experts from Lufthansa to provide on-time maintenance service to curb possible interruptions. A new Namibian crew will soon take full command of the new bird, as training of human resources will take priority in the company, Egumbo told the audience at the airport.