Air Namibia not fazed by competition
According to Air Namibia’s Chief Operations Officer and acting Managing Director Rene Gsponer, Air Namibia is not fazed by newcomer discount airline, Fly Africa.com. “We are not troubled, we will approach Fly Africa in the same way that we approached Condor, we are a top class airline while Fly Africa is a non-service airline with a 20-year-old fleet. Flying with that airline is taking a risk”. Fly Africa.com is slated to commence operations on 1 March 2015, offering low cost flights from Windhoek to Johannesburg with the fares starting at a very competitive N$799.
Speaking during a media briefing Gsponer said Air Namibia managed to increase its operating revenue, for the period April to December 2014, by 19 %. However despite the increase, he said the airline still needs to increase its revenue stream to attain operational profitability in accordance with its turnaround strategy.
The government approved turn-around strategy is more customer and employee focused, “One of the key focus areas for 2015 include further improvement of service quality. “Our commitment to improving customer service is ongoing with training of all frontline staff being prioritized. Our call center is undergoing a programme to ensure we improve on ease of accessibility and to bring it to the next level of service excellence”, said Gsponer. Other key aspects in the turn-around strategy include improving operational integrity, building a strong network and having a reliable fleet. The national airline broke several revenue records reporting operating revenue of just over N$1.2 billion in 2013 and just over N$1.4 billion in 2014. Another key achievement noted by the airline is that they broke several revenue generating records last year and reported an overall revenue of about N$2 billion for 2014. The airline has also experienced good growth on the Ondangwa route, with their strategic outlook showing further growth, hence the decision to increase the number of flights to three per day effective 29 March 2015. Furthermore, Air Namibia announced in January that there will be direct flights from Walvis Bay to Johannesburg and Capetown. “The traffic between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Walvis Bay has improved significantly since 2012 when Air Namibia suspended the direct operation between these destinations. We have observed that at least 60% of the traffic travelling on our Windhoek Walvis Bay flights originates from those two destinations connecting via Windhoek. The airline told the Economist that the move to have direct flights from Walvis Bay to Johannesburg and Cape Town will not have a significant impact on the passengers that were picked up at pit stops. “We have assessed and evaluated the possible snowball effect of this change in schedule on the Windhoek Walvis Bay flights. We expect the direct flight between Windhoek and Walvis Bay to lose at least 10% of the connecting traffic from those two destinations, namely, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Given the total capacity to be offered on the Cape Town Walvis and Johannesburg Walvis routes, we do not believe that the whole traffic is to be accommodated by that capacity hence we expect some of the traffic to connect via Windhoek especially the leisure traffic.