Namibia’s national carrier has announced it was ending operations after the Southern African country’s government approved the loss-making airline’s liquidation.
“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.
Air Namibia had failed in its multiple recovery attempts despite several years of state bailouts.
Over 600 workers are set to lose their jobs with the government saying affected staff would get full compensation.
Namibia’s ministry of public enterprises, the ministry of finance, Air Namibia’s executive committee members, and unions were expected to meet on Thursday for the government to give its stance on the liquidation process, reported the Namibian, a local daily.
From its hub at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport, the airline operated flights to neighbouring South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, and Botswana. It also flew to Frankfurt, Germany.
The airline operated a fleet of 10 aircraft including two Airbus A330s.
With a very small fleet and high operating costs, the airline struggled to make a profit.
The 75-year-old airline has received a total of $477 million from the state between 1999 and 2019.
The company’s precarious financial situation was worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the airline halt operations for months.
At the beginning of February, the airline’s board resigned after accusing the state of interference.
Observers say many African airlines, already struggling pre-Covid, will likely fail to shake off the effects of the pandemic and will need heavy cash injections to stay in the air.