Air Namibia stops flights
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Rustenburg – Air Namibia has cancelled all flight operations as the national airline faces liquidation.
In a brief statement on its Twitter account, the airline said all its aircraft would be grounded and its reservations system suspended from Thursday.
No new bookings would be accepted and affected passengers were advised to register claims for refunds.
Daily newspaper The Namibian reported on Thursday that the cabinet has given its approval for Air Namibia to be voluntarily liquidated.
According to the daily, the intention was to register the resolution with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) before February 18 so that Challenge Air, which took on Air Namibia over unpaid dues, cannot attach any of the airline's assets.
The daily cited leaked documents that the cabinet has also resolved that the airline's workers would get preferential treatment and receive their full severance packages from the liquidators.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the government was expected to announce the voluntary liquidation of the airline on Thursday, leaving 636 workers jobless.
According to the broadcaster, workers would receive a basic salary for the next 12 months but would not receive any benefits.
A Switzerland-based company that collects and publishes information about the airline business, Ch-Aviation, reported that the government, the airline’s executive and workers’ unions were expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the liquidation's finer details.
The airline’s board members resigned early in February after the government did not oppose an application in the Namibian High Court to have the airline liquidated.
According to Ch-Aviation, the application was made by the estate of former Belgian lessor Challenge Air over outstanding payments on a 1998 debt concerning the lease of a Boeing 767-300 (ER).
Lawyers representing both parties reached an 11th-hour out-of-court settlement on January 28 for US$11.9 million.
The Namibian government reportedly did not support the settlement, citing affordability.
The first instalment of US$6 million on the settlement was due on February 18.
African News Agency (ANA)