Windhoek – It was all excitement and high expectations at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday afternoon as the first-ever KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight touched down at around 12h00 with a colourful and packed Airbus A330-200 aircraft carrying 243 people.
“The Flying Dutchman” aircraft had on board the Dutch Ambassador to South Africa Marisa Gerards and the senior vice president Africa of Air France KLM, Frank Legre, as well as invited tour operators from the Netherlands and other European countries.
Speaking at the reception at the airport, Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb said the flight arrival further cements ties between the two countries.
“Namibia and the Netherlands have had cordial diplomatic relations since 1990 that were transformed over the years to focus on strengthening trade, economic and investments ties.
“Air connectivity can only enhance our attractiveness as a global city and truly transform Namibia as an international business centre and logistic hub in pursuit of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and National Development Goals,” said !Naruseb in a speech read on his behalf by Works and Transport permanent secretary Willem Goeieman.
!Naruseb said Namibia remains committed to opening up the local skies. “The government is committed to continue to engage its bilateral cooperation partners to promote and develop route development through the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA)”.
Chairperson of NAC board of directors Rodgers Kauta reiterated the company’s support for the new airline.
“NAC would like to pledge our support to your company and at all times to ensure that your operations at Hosea Kutako Intentional Airport are smooth and rewarding. This route not only improves connections with mature destinations, but allows Namibia to tap into new markets that are also served by KLM and its partners”, said Kauta.
Legre said KLM will operate from Amsterdam via Luanda to Windhoek, three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) and were looking forward to the success of the route.
“We are very optimistic that we will make good business in Namibia. We opened the bookings and in two weeks we had a full flight to Windhoek. We now stand at about 5 000 bookings between November and March 2007 already, which is good for this route,” he said.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the third international airline in about six weeks to launch flights to Windhoek, following the earlier arrival of Qatar Airways on September 28 and Ethiopian Airlines on October 6.