New National Airline for Namibia

NAMIBIA will have a second national airline by 2015, and Air Namibia has admitted that it will “create a level playing field” for fair competition.

Flyafrica.com announced in September that Namibia was the next step in its Pan-Africa low-fare strategy.

Namibia joins Zimbabwe in the Flyafrica.com airline family.

With fares from as little as R799 for flights between Windhoek and Johannesburg, Namibia Flyafrica will “revolutionise travel and bring low fares to regional passengers”.

The airline will use Namibian registered Boeing 737 500s to operate daily flights from Windhoek to Johannesburg from Monday 2 February 2015.

It will then roll-out and operate scheduled regional flights from Namibia to South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Namibia Flyafrica.com group is a joint venture between Nomad Aviation, a Namibia-based airline and Flyafrica Ltd, a Mauritius based private equity aviation investment group.

“Namibia Flyafrica is a key part of our strategy to build airlines in Africa that will combine low fares with global standards of safety and quality,” the group’s chief executive officer Adrian Hamilton-Manns said in a press statement.

Nomad Aviation chief executive officer Clifford Strydom, whose company has been operating in Namibia since 1989, said ‘Namibia Flyafrica’ will be based at Hosea Kutako International Airport with a Namibian office and crew.

“We already have two Namibian registered Boeing 737 500s, with one undergoing a repainting job as we speak,” he said.

Strydom said, because of monopoly, travellers have paid too much for too long and Namibia Flyafrica will change that because the airline would not apply a fuel surcharge to avoid doubling the fares.

“This is direct competition with Air Namibia not specifically targeting the airline, but the prices that came from the airline monopoly in Namibia. Hopefully, there will be some excitement,” he said.

Hilia Sikanda of Air Namibia’s Corporate Communications said the national carrier learned of the envisaged entry of FlyAfrica into the market.

“Competition in any form is not always a threat in the industry. However, it can mean creating a level playing field,” she told The Namibian. “This competition is not only a challenge to Air Namibia but all other airlines in the region. We can only monitor the impact as time goes.”

Sikanda said the global market for air transport is in a slump, with Sub-Saharan Africa being one of the few regions which has constantly recorded above average growth rates in traffic volumes and revenue over the past couple of years.

“Nowadays we see a lot of European, Middle East and even US-based airlines announcing landmark entries into the African market, and increasing frequencies where they previously operated a small number of flights. This is a sign that there is business for air transport in Africa, and Namibia is no exception,” she said.

Sikanda said airline calculations of fares is guided by “the market dynamics especially the competition and its significance and many other factors”.

Air Namibia’s fare from Windhoek to Johannesburg starts at N$1 220.

“Air Namibia has been ranked in the top 10 ‘On Time Performers’ in the world out of 406 airlines by Flight View, USA. This gives us first place in Africa. Hence we are confident that this not only shows our competitiveness in the market but that our service is of international standard. Air Namibia is committed to retaining and improving on this high standard,” she concluded.

Source : The Namibian