FlyAfrica fly no more
It never rains but pours for struggling, low-cost airline, FlyAfrica as it seems to have allegedly duped potential clients out of millions of dollars through booking and selling advance flight tickets in Namibia.
According to person familiar with the airline’s troubles, the low-cost airline has not been in operation since its inaugural Windhoek Cape town flights on 2 and 4 November, despite clients buying and paying for flight tickets in advance.
Earlier this month, Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) Angeline Simana in an issued operational directive, which has been applicable since 5 November, prohibited Nomad Aviation (trading as FlyAfrica) from continuing its services until such time the DCA had successfully completed a re-validation mission and issued an approval certificate in respect of any such aviation services.
Despite this restriction on the new airline’s operations, it is currently estimated that FlyAfrica sold some N$3 million worth of air travel to prospective flyers, specifically for the Windhoek Cape Town leg.
Following complaints from clients of the international passenger services of FlyAfrica, the Economist tried to establish where FlyAfrica was going in terms of its operations and refunding procedures for those people who bought tickets in Namibia.
Upon visiting their office situated at Auas Valley shopping mall early this week, the Economist was greeted with an empty office, with only a sign plastered on the window, written, ‘The office is temporarily closed. For all refund applications, kindly contact the Flyafrica call centre….’
On calling the call centre, an agent on the line, stated that, if you want a refund it would come as a voucher that is valid for three months. According to the agent, she lucidly said that FlyAfrica operations are due to resume in Namibia in December again.
This is contrary to what an earlier FlyAfrica call centre for their bookings agent had said in November, when she stated that the flights would resume by mid-November, of which non such action occurred.
Currently, FlyAfrica’s social media pages do not indicate anything on flight operations and refunds in Namibia on the advance flight tickets, except for the web page that states, “FlyAfrica.com apologises profusely for the disruption and inconvenience caused to passengers. This is a difficult period for FlyAfrica.com and we appreciate your understanding while we do everything in our power to resume FlyAfrica.com operations as speedily as possible.”
“We acknowledge that the passenger refund process for cancelled flights is time consuming and we thank you for your patience as we work on improving these challenges. FlyAfrica.com would like to assure all passengers that cancelled bookings will be refunded for flights during this period,” it further stated.
The Economist tried to get comment and confirmation from the FlyAfrica Namibia CEO, Clifford Strydom, but it proved futile as he never responded to emails communicated to him and he never answered any calls.
The DCA is in the process of conducting investigations into the safety of the airline, to determine whether Nomad Aviation is in compliance with requirements for conducting flights as a certified air operator under the current lease arrangement.
Meanwhile, FlyAfrica Zimbabwe is still not operational in Zimbabwe because of regulatory concerns.