A330-200 safe on long haul flights
Toulouse – Air Namibia says its brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft is safe to fly on its long haul route between Windhoek and Frankfurt. The aircraft is powered by two Rolls Royce engines, in line with contemporary trends in the industry for modern medium to long haul aircraft.
Xavier Masule General Manager for commercial services at Air Namibia told the Economist Wednesday after the national airline took delivery of one of its two brand new Airbus A330-200 here in Toulouse, France that the aircraft is technically certified to operate with two engines on long haul flights, and that the new aircraft has 240 minutes ETOPS (Extended range Twin Operations) so that in the event of an engine failure, the aircraft can fly on one engine for 240 minutes or even beyond.
Masule said: “If you look at our operations, we are flying on land only except for the one hour we have to fly across the Mediterranean sea into Europe so there are no risks at all.”
He also said in the airline industry, there are five freedom traffic rights, and one of the rights allows an aircraft to land in any country for emergency purpose.
Air Namibia said there are 132 airline operators of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft worldwide, including South African Airways, operating the aircraft on short, medium and long range routes proof that the aircraft is suitable for its Windhoek-Frankfurt route.
In the past, the airline operated aircraft that were not as better suited to the Air Namibia operations and market. However, Theo Namases, MD of Air Namibia said the airline had done its home work and consulted “broadly”with other stakeholders on the suitability of the aircraft for its long haul operations both in terms of safety and economic considerations before the decision to settle on the A330 – 200 was made.
She said the key difference and advantage the A330-200’s have over previously used aircraft include a combination of cost efficiency, reliability, cabin appeal for passengers and improved technology.
In 1999, Air Namibia replaced the B767-300ER with a Boeing B747-400 Combi after five years into service because of high operating and ownership costs. Soon after, the airline replaced the B747-400 with an MD11 a
nd after only one and half years in operation the aircraft was again replaced because of its unsuitability.
Meanwhile, Air Namibia’s new Airbus A330-200 made its maiden flight to Frankfurt on Thursday afternoon. The aircraft is, however, only expected to land at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on 03 October after
registration and governmental approvals have been obtained. The Air Namibia crew will also have to familiarise themselves with the aircraft before departure for Windhoek.