WINDHOEK – Plans are at an advanced stage for Air Namibia to increase routes into Angola, with additional destinations to Ondjiva, Lubango, Namibe and Benguela, a spokesperson at the airline confirmed yesterday.
The routes and destinations are to supplement the current route between Windhoek and Luanda.
President Hage Geingob made the revelations of the advanced discussions on the matter during the State visit of Angolan President João Lourenço, which ended over the weekend.
Geingob said this increased connectivity and air traffic between Namibia and Angola would be a catalyst for business activity, trade and tourism.
Air Namibia spokesperson, Paul Nakawa, has confirmed to New Era that the airline had requested the government to engage the Angolan government to secure traffic rights for Air Namibia to fly to these destinations.
“Air Namibia is still waiting for an official response from the Namibian and Angolan governments regarding the matter. If the request was approved, the Namibian government is yet to brief Air Namibia on the developments,” Nakawa said.
He revealed that if the traffic rights are granted, Air Namibia would begin operations end of October 2018, adding that Air Namibia would require considerable time to set up operational facilities and human resources to develop the routes from scratch and put them into operation.
“Air Namibia plans to serve these new routes three to four times weekly with its fleet of Embraer Jets (ERJ135), with 37 seating capacity. The routes will supplement the existing Windhoek-Luanda route. Air Namibia will be the first airline to serve these routes on an international level,” he indicated.
According to him, Air Namibia is looking forward to a positive response from the Angolan government for increased operation and to extend its footprint in the Angolan markets.
According to the latest Namibia Statistics Agency, data shows that Namibia’s exports to Angola declined by 80 percent during the period 2015 to 2016 compared to the trade figures of before 2010.
In February Air Namibia confirmed that it would resume flights to Accra, Ghana, as of the end of June this year.
However, to increase its chances of making a profit on this route, which the airline abandoned in 2013, Air Namibia would now combine the flights to Ghana with flights to Lagos, Nigeria, in a bid to grow its business as well as its footprint on the African continent.
The days of operation for the new route from Windhoek will be Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as this operating schedule and flight timing allow smooth and convenient connections inbound and outbound to regional flights, connecting West Africa via Windhoek to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Luanda, Harare, Lusaka, Vic Falls, Gaborone, Walvis Bay and Durban.