And sadly another one bites the dust…
Air Namibia is going out of business
As of Thursday, February 11, 2021, Air Namibia will be canceling all flight operations, with aircraft returning to base. The reservations system for taking new bookings has also been suspended.
Unfortunately Air Namibia had been losing money for years, even pre-pandemic. Air Namibia’s liquidation will lead to over 600 job losses — employees will stop getting benefits effective immediately, though they will receive one year of severance pay.
Air Namibia’s fleet consisted of 10 planes, including two A330s, four A319s, and four ERJ135ERs. While the airline primarily operated domestic and regional services, I’ve long been fascinated by the flag carrier’s one long haul route, between Windhoek and Frankfurt.
We’ll see what the future holds for Namibian aviation:
- The Frankfurt to Windhoek route is also served seasonally by Condor, so there’s still a way to fly nonstop between the two countries
- Westair has been increasing domestic service within Namibia, and will only continue to grow, so could potentially take over much of Air Namibia’s network
- We’ll see if another airline steps in to offer regional services; maybe Ethiopian Airlines will step up service to & from Namibia
An interesting opportunity for Southwest Airlines
This might sound random, but Southwest Airlines potentially has something to gain from Air Namibia going out of business. As noted by Live and Let’s Fly, Southwest Airlines’ two letter IATA code is “WN,” though the airline has always wanted the code “SW.” Unfortunately for Southwest, that code was already being used by Air Namibia, which is an older airline.
Southwest Airlines has tried several times in the past to get Air Namibia to change its code so that the airline could take it over, but didn’t have any luck. With Air Namibia liquidating, this might finally be Southwest Airlines’ chance to get the “SW” code.
I’ll be curious to see how quickly we see developments on this front.
It’s sad to see yet another flag carrier cease operations. In this case Air Namibia is going out of business, and over 600 jobs will be lost as a result. While Air Namibia’s international network can quite easily be replaced by other airlines, this leaves a big gap in domestic aviation, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.
This also presents an opportunity for Southwest Airlines, as the airline has long wanted the “SW” IATA code, but it was taken by Air Namibia. Let’s see if the airline can get the code now.
What do you make of Air Namibia ceasing operations, and do you think Southwest Airlines will finally change it code?
(Featured image courtesy of)