WINDHOEK, 08 JUL – Air Namibia is expected to generate N.dollars 140 million in revenue from the West Africa route as part of the implementation of corrective actions to improve the airline’s financial performance.
This is according to Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa in response to questions by Nico Smit of the Popular Democratic Movement in the National Assembly on Thursday.
Smit asked about the reasons for the implementation of the Windhoek-Lagos-Accra routes and Sankwasa said the potential market for operating into this part of the continent is huge. He said most airlines which are successful today make their profits from this market.
“We see big numbers of people from West Africa travelling to Southern Africa with many of them coming from via East Africa spending more than 18 hours on each trip,” said the deputy minister.
He added that Air Namibia will reduce the travel time by five hours.
Feasibility studies undertaken show that the route will generate about N.dollars 140 million in route revenue during the first year, according to Sankwasa.
The estimated operational costs will amount to N.dollars 112 million, giving an expected profit of N.dollars 28 million.
“We are delighted to say that indications of a viable route are already visible, with the first flight to West Africa fully booked with normal paying passengers,” said Sankwasa.
According to him, people between these two regions travel for many reasons, which include leisure or touristic, business and trade, religious, sports, art, medical, education and cultural exchange programmes.
Sankwasa said this new route will create an opportunity for Air Namibia to increase utilisation of aircraft, crew and maintenance, generating additional revenue to be used to cover the airline’s existing fixed costs.
The deputy minister also mentioned that the absence of a Namibian consulate previously to issue visas to people wanting to visit Namibia hampered the West Africa route.
“This time around, we have high commissioners in both Nigeria and Ghana, so it will be easy for those who want to visit Namibia to get required documents,” he explained.