Air Namibia takes delivery of new Airbus
The aircraft, being leased from Intrepid Aviation for 12 years, brings to four the number of brand new aircraft sourced by Air Namibia in nine months after the airline took delivery of two brand new A319-100 aircraft in December last year.
The A330-200 aircraft will replace the ageing A340-300 on Air Namibia’s intercontinental route between Windhoek and Frankfurt. Air Namibia’s re-fleeting programme is a key component of the airline’s five-year business plan adopted in July 2011.
Speaking during a ceremony held in Toulouse on Wednesday to mark the handover of the A330-200, Air Namibia Managing Director Theo Namases said although the airline has not yet turned the corner in terms of profitability, the low fuel and maintenance costs of the new aircraft compared to the A340-300, will help reduce the airline’s dependence on public funds.
The new aircraft will reduce Air Namibia’s fuel costs by 13%, and the airline said it expects to save up to N$8.5 million monthly as fuel constitutes over 40% of its operating costs.
Namases said the delivery of the first A330-200, and the other new aircraft expected later in November, will make Air Namibia’s fleet the youngest in the region with an average age of six years down from the average 18 years in December 2010 seven months before the airline began its re-fleeting programme.
Namibian Ambassador to France, Nangula Ithethe said the government is proud of the positive steps that the airline has taken in its fleet upgrade programme.
“I would like to congratulate the Air Namibia board of directors and management for taking this bold step to bring its fleet at par with its many competitors,” the ambassador said.
Ithethe said the monthly cost savings is a “welcome relief” as the government would like to see a reduction of taxpayer’s resources being continually channelled to sustain Air Namibia.
The A330-200 offers a much improved in-flight product compared to the current Airbus A340 which will leave Air Namibia’s fleet end of 2013. It offers an improved overall cabin appearance which is more spacious as well as having more headroom and shoulder clearance for window seats, and an improved illumination.
The A330-200 offers individual personal video screens for each seat, with ‘video on demand’ both in business and in economy class.
The A330 aircraft will come with 30 business class seats offering full flat beds at 180 degrees and completely horizontal when reclined as well as rising armrests that form individual privacy screens. It also offers water bottle and general stowage, shoe stowage and literature pocket, PC power and headphone port.
The A330-200 comes with 214 economy class seats compared to 234 on the A340. The seat pitch is an average 31 inches offering sufficient legroom. With 8 abreast in the economy class, the 18 inch seat width, the A330 also offers the preferred comfort standard.