Technical Faults Delay Airnam Rundu Flights

MORE than 40 Air Namibia passengers were stranded at the Rundu airport on Sunday after their flight was delayed for more than three hours over safety issues.

The flight was scheduled to take off from Rundu to Windhoek at 14h00 but there was no Air Namibia staff on sight to explain the delay.

According to one of the passengers, they were only informed at 15h00 that the plane was in Katima Mulilo and it would take another hour before it reached Rundu.

The Namibian learned that the passengers, mostly tourists, were furious about the delay and some even tried to call Windhoek for answers but all in vain.

Air Namibia’s spokesperson, Paul Nakawa, confirmed the delay saying the flight was delayed because of safety issues and an engineer was tasked to have a look at the aircraft before its flight.

“I wish to confirm that on Sunday Air Namibia experienced delays on its triangular flights to its northern region destinations. The delays were a result of technical problem on our Brazilian made Embraer Jet (ERJ) 135 aircraft that services the northern route, but the technical nature of the defects was not alarming,” Nakawa said.

He added that the problem had a knock-on effect on the rest of the day’s programme for the aircraft.

Despite the passengers’ complaints about shoddy Air Namibia customer care, Nakawa said all affected passengers had been informed of the delay, and expressed the airline’s gratitude for their patience and understanding.

He said safety is their number one priority and confirmed that Air Namibia has been running for the past eleven months at 90% of its on-time performance. He said this is a phenomenal peak in this industry, and they are aiming to still better this performance.

“Although delays and cancellations are part of our business, at Air Namibia we are working to ensure that our flights depart at the scheduled time, knowing that it is safe to operate,” Nakawa said.

He said they want to ensure that no operational urgency or business consideration would ever justify endangering anyone’s life.

The Namibia Airport Company’s spokesperson, Dan Kamati, said he did not know of the delay but said if an engineer was involved, it was Air Namibia’s problem as NAC does not employ engineers.

Late last year, the airline experienced delays on some of its flights including those from Frankfurt, Germany and from Ondangwa, which left hundreds of passengers stranded.

Source : The Namibian