Air Namibia, the national carrier of the Republic of Namibia, in a press release suspended its Windhoek – Lagos – Accra flight effective Friday 24th May 2019
Air Namibia launched the route at the end of June 2018 and within two months the route was making a positive contribution to the airline’s route network in terms of passenger numbers and revenue generation.
In February 2019, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia in a retaliatory move banned the issuance of visa’s to Namibian passport holders over ill-treatment of Nigerians arriving at or transiting through Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport by Namibian border control officials.The airline further stated that the effect of social media messages circulating in Nigeria about Namibia being “anti-Nigeria”, with travelers being urged to avoid visiting Namibia, as well as avoid using Windhoek as a transit point when travelling to South Africa negatively affected the Airline fortunes on the route
Air Namibia consulted various stakeholders to mitigate the diplomatic standoff, but all efforts proved futile.
The load factor performance of the route dropped from average 55% attained during June 2018 to January 2019, to between 35% and 38% during February to April 2019.
Mr Paul Nakawa, Corporate Communications Manager for the Airline said that Air Namibia decided to indefinitely suspend this route in order to mitigate the related safety, non-compliance and commercial risks. He concluded by saying, “affected passengers will be assisted by accommodating them on flights operated by our partner airlines at Air Namibia’s cost, or they will be refunded if they opt not to fly anymore.”
The mandate of Air Namibia is to be a major contributor towards the attraction and promotion of tourism to Namibia by providing air transport between the Land of the Brave and the rest of the world, as well as operating flights within the boundaries of Namibia.