Low volumes trigger Air Namibia to terminate route
National airline, Air Namibia has announced the termination of its Windhoek – Gaborone route because of commercial reasons. The termination is effective 31 May 2013.
Spokesperson, Paul Nakawa told the Economist Thursday that the decision to terminate the route exactly a year after it was launched was taken after passenger numbers failed to pick up. The Gaborone route was launched in May last year as part of plans to increase Air Namibia’s presence in the region. The route was launched together with the Windhoek – Harare route and the Windhoek – Ondjiva route.
At the time of the launch, Air Namibia said that the additional routes will contribute significantly in
strengthening the Namibian economy and existing bilateral business relationships of the three countries, the SADC region and the continent.
The Windhoek – Gaborone route was also meant to provide easy and safe travel options for individuals travelling to Botswana. Many fatal road accidents have occurred en route to Gaborone mostly as a result of domestic animals encroaching the road.
Nakawa said, “The route has been slow to pick up in terms of passenger volumes. We were expecting the route to grow in terms of passengers as new routes normally take a long time to grow, but at the moment the figures are not promising enough for us to continue with that route. We want to make sure that each route is contributing to our bottom line.”
The Air Namibia spokesperson added that the route had failed to grow despite Gaborone becoming a centre for many activities. He cited the relocation of the De beers offices to Gaborone and the location of the SADC secretariat in the Botswana capital as examples.
The airline said it will still continue with its Maun route despite terminating the Windhoek – Gaborone route. For the convenience of passengers, the airline said it has entered into a commercial agreement with Air Botswana to carry Air Namibia’s passengers to Johannesburg where they can catch a connecting flight to Windhoek.
Meanwhile, Air Namibia has announced schedule changes for its other regional operations. The airline said the changes were necessitated by the winter time changes and they are effective as from 01 May 2013 to 26 October 2013.
As a result of the changes, the Windhoek – Gaborone flights departure time will now be 07:15UTC during the period of 1 May 2013 until the route is terminated on 31 May 2013.
The departure time for the Cape Town – Windhoek flights will also change. Departure from Capetown will now be 05:00 UTC arriving in Windhoek at 07:00 UTC during the period from 01 May 2013 to 31 August 2013.
Windhoek –Luanda flights will now depart at 07:50UTC while SW304 Luanda to Windhoek will now arrive at 13:35 UTC during the period from 01 May 2013 to 31 August 2013. The 7th frequency flight on this route, which will be on Tuesdays, comes into operation from 01 Aug 2013 onwards.
The Victoria Falls – Maun morning flights will now depart at 07:35UTC, 20 minutes later than the current 07:15UTC while the Windhoek- Harare/Lusaka flights will depart from Windhoek at 07:35 UTC for seamless connection.