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Accra flights back on the radar

Air Namibia this week announced that it has reversed its decision to terminate the loss-making Windhoek-Accra route.
The Head of Corporate Communications at the national carrier, Paulus Nakawa told the Economist that the decision to continue flying to the West African nation was taken as the route was part of the growth plans of the airline.
He said: “At the moment we have very limited economies of scale to support a profitable airline operation. It [Accra route]serves as a strategic entry point into the big West African market. The route is showing signs of being viable and profitable in the near future.”
Nakawa added that the Accra route will be used to develop alternative sources of tourism and business traffic to Namibia and build on what has already been established in routes like Angola. The Accra route is also expected to provide an alternative routing for people going to North America and Europe, instead of via Johannesburg.
Air Namibia says it carries between 1700 and 1900 passengers every month on the Windhoek Accra route that was launched in August 2011. The majority of the passengers are from West Africa coming to Namibia, while others are going to other SADC cities, Europe and USA via Hosea Kutako International Airport.
Nakawa said the main reason behind the initial decision to terminate the Windhoek Accra route was  the losses incurred on it and that the financial position of Air Namibia was not sound during the 3rd Quarter of 2012 which made it difficult to cater for the expanded network.
“A decision was then taken to ensure that the meagre resources available should be directed to established routes such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, and domestic routes,” he said.
Going forward, Nakawa said: “The main focus is now on the “yields” that need to be realized on the route, of which our commercial department has begun seriously looking into by way of revenue management interventions. As much as passenger load factor needs to be taken into consideration, it is important that a seat kilometre yield is maximized. The airline will also look into other revenue generation maximization areas such as cargo and other available sundry streams.”

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