The Namibia Cabin Crew Union (NCCU) has agreed with President Hage Geingob that liquidators are sitting on government money.
This comes after Geingob met with the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Mesfin Tasew Bekele, last month to discuss avenues of cooperation in Namibia’s efforts to restart a national airline.
In a press statement after concluding the36th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Ethiopiaon 18 February 2023, Geingob through his office said that the matter of reviving a national airline would be properly tabled before the Cabinet for decisions and operationalisation.
Last Thursday Geingob said Ethiopian airlines may help revive the national airline by taking Namibia’s routes and running it on behalf of the country.
“We must revive Air Namibia. Ethiopian airlines people came to present and they said they are now buying into existing airlines and taking routes to run for Africa. Eventually they may help to revive Air Namibia, but now they want to get our routes and that way they can start to run them on our behalf but normally they get shares. They may get 40% of shares,” Geingob said.
After questions were posed about the revival of Air Namibia during his State of the Nation Address,the President said the idea comes from the fact that liquidators are just making money.
“Air Namibia’srevival is coming from the fact that liquidators are just making money. Only two people are doing it, no black person is doing it and definitely they are sitting on money,” he stressed.
“They [Ethiopian Airlines] even followed with a letter after we came back that they want to be able to use our routes, while contemplating how to revive air Namibia by taking shares. So given the liquidation is taking too long to me, I don’t trust it now and therefore we are looking at alternatives.”
Geingob emphasised that he was one of the people who refused for Air Namibia to be liquidated, saying there was sabotage.
“How can you make a loss with a plane that was full. So I will join you to fight for Air Namibia,”he said.
NCCU President Reginald Kock told The Villager that they have been experiencing struggles with the liquidators in terms of communication and them being transparent about how they operate.
“Because when we were liquidated we completed creditors’ forms. The liquidators had to facilitate those monies, there were some meetings with them and management and agreed according to what the law says,” Kock said.
He added that last year there was a change made by the liquidators in terms of the money to be paid out which was filed with the High Court.
“You want to submit the changes to the High Court without informing us. When we got engaged they went quiet. Then went ahead and paid the money last December which was a 30% reduction.”
Kock stamped said somehow President Geingob is right as the experience the union has had with the liquidators “is just a funny operation from them”that seems like the idea is to make more money for themselves before the process is completed.
He said the union has no idea how the liquidators were appointed and the criteria that was used.
“What experience you must have to be appointed especially for the aviation industry and equipment. Wherever this is smoke there is fire and those are certain things that need to be investigated, how liquidators are operating in this country,” Kock said.
Air Namibia was liquidated on 26 March 2021, after no opposing papers were filed against a liquidation application brought by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC).
The national airline owed the NACN$714 million in outstanding aeronautical and ground handling charges and has been in provisional liquidation since 6 February 2021.
At the time of the liquidation being approved, Air Namibia had assets valued at N$1,04 billion and liabilities amounting to nearly N$5,4 billion.
Kock further said experts such as Ethiopian Airlines coming in to assist would help, adding that it was something they were advocating for before the shutdown of Namibia’s national airline.
Meanwhile NAC Board Chairperson Leake Hangala said Namibia needs a national airline to promote Namibia in terms of trade and tourism.
He said this will also create employment.