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Air Namibia suspends Accra-Lagos-Windhoek route over diplomatic row

Air Namibia has suspended its Accra-Lagos-Windhoek route over what appears to be a diplomatic row between Nigeria and Namibia which has led to passenger numbers dropping significantly.

The suspension which took effect yesterday was communicated to all staff, a source told Citi Business News.

Air Namibia launched the route Windhoek – Lagos – Accra at the end of June 2018. The route started off very well in terms of passenger numbers and revenue generation, and within two months, the route was reportedly making a positive contribution to the airline’s route network.

Narrating the row, a circular sent to all staff said, during February 2019, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia banned the issuing of visas to Namibian passport holders.

According to multiple news reports in Namibia, this is said to be compounded by a number of messages circulating on social media which reportedly tags Namibia as anti-Nigeria with travelers being told to avoid using Windhoek as a transit point to South Africa.

According to the airline, the load factor performance of the route dropped from average 55 percent attained during June 2018 to January 2019, to between 35 percent and 38 percent from February to April 2019.

Paul Nakawa, Manager Corporate Communications, noted that Air Namibia decided to suspend this route for an indefinite period in order to mitigate the related safety, noncompliance and commercial risks.

He concluded by saying, “affected passengers will be assisted by accommodating them on flights operated by our partner airlines at Air Namibia’s cost, or they will be refunded if they opt not to fly anymore.”

Source: Air Namibia

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