Air Namibia appoints previously disadvantaged pilots

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Edgar Brandt
Windhoek

The national airline, Air Namibia, has confirmed that it has recruited and appointed 13 new pilots, all of whom can be classified as previously disadvantaged.

According to an Air Namibia spokesperson, Twaku Kayofa, the new recruits, who were officially appointed on Monday, April 24, will all commence at the rank of First Officers and will fly domestic routes serviced by the 135 Embraer Rear Jet.

In recent months previously disadvantaged pilots claimed they were being systematically victimised by private players in the local aviation industry, particularly as the local aviation industry continues to be dominated by white people since and before Independence.

The disgruntled pilots alleged that all white trainee pilots were able to secure jobs even before they completed flight school and that up to 90 percent of pilots working in the country come from outside Namibia.

In stark contrast, a number of previously disadvantaged pilots have reportedly been sitting idle and without jobs for years, while some have even resorted to starting up side businesses that are in no way related to their qualifications.

In addition, it is alleged that some black pilots earned as little as N$5,000 a month in comparison to their white counterparts, whose starting salaries range of N$20,000 and upwards a month.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, one qualified commercial pilot admitted that while the national carrier, Air Namibia, is doing a fair job in recruiting black pilots, the national airline cannot absorb all the qualified black pilots.

This responsibility, he said, should be in the hands of the private charter companies.

“However, I must say that Air Namibia is doing a good job, because they are employing more and more black pilots, even though the black pilots do not have the level of exposure to the industry that their white counterparts do,” said the pilot.

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