Air Namibia has had to suspend a number of southern African regional flights due to the unavailability of three Airbus planes.
This is according to a report published by The Namibian,which also stated that the planes cannot be released to the airline until it settles its account with South African Airways Technical (SAAT).
SAAT is the maintenance service provider for Air Namibia’s A319 fleet, of which only one out of the four which make up the fleet is currently serviceable.
In a confidential memorandum on 29 May 2019 to works executive director Willem Goeiemann, Air Namibia interim chief executive officer Xavier Masule said SAAT had indicated that they will not release, perform the required maintenance work, or accept any Air Namibia aircraft into their hangars until the company’s account was settled.
According to the letter, Air Namibia made a N$19 million payment to SAAT in April this year, and was set to make another N$6,9 million payment last week. However Air Namibia claims that SAAT will only service the aircraft currently in their possession if the company commits to paying a minimum of N$20 million.
“The information shared herein is for noting, and also seeking assistance to the speedy facilitation of payment of a further N$20 million towards SAAT during the first week of June 2019,” Masule wrote.
He noted that this arrangement presents consequential risks to the company’s operations.
With only one aircraft in service, Air Namibia has suspended all flights on its Windhoek to Luanda route, reduced the Windhoek to Johannesburg flights from three to one per day, and will reduce the flights to Cape Town from three to two per day.
Masule explained that passengers scheduled to fly to Luanda will be placed on TAAG (Angolan Airlines), using a revived codeshare agreement.
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