The Windhoek High Court has ordered the Transportation Commission of Namibia to reconsider an application from FlyNamibia (WV, Windhoek Eros) for the renewal of its scheduled air transport service licence. This comes after the airline filed an affidavit against the regulator and the transport minister for rejecting its belated request for licence renewal.

Judge Esi Schimming-Chase's order on March 18 gives FlyNamibia another chance to have its application reviewed. The commission's decision to refuse the renewal was set aside, and the carrier's application was referred back for fresh consideration.

In the affidavit, FlyNamibia CEO Henri van Schalkwyk explained that the company had missed the renewal deadline by about eight months due to an oversight but emphasised its ability to provide safe and reliable service, supported by a valid Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). He highlighted the severe consequences of the licence expiring, including halting business operations and potential employee retrenchment. The airline operates numerous flights monthly, contributing significantly to Namibia's economy, he added.

The commission declined the renewal on March 7, claiming it lacked the authority to consider condonation applications for exemption from compliance. It could only consider these in specific instances, such as when an airline provides charitable services or aids in saving lives. The application did not meet these criteria, it said, and the licence was refused.

In her findings, Judge Schimming-Chase found the commission had interpreted Namibia's Air Services Act 51 of 1949 Act wrongly and "did not apply its mind to the legislative provisions at all".

"Section 3 of the Act specifically grants the commission the functionary powers to, inter alia, determine applications for licences as well as renewal of applications for licences of air carriers," she explained, adding that the terms of the act give the commission discretion to impose "that a non-compliant party pay the commission a deposit" of NAD4,000 Namibian dollars (USD211) as "a condition of condonation. It would be absurd if the entity responsible for the licensing of air carriers would not have the jurisdiction to consider an application for condonation for non-compliance with the act’s provisions."

FlyNamibia Managing Director André Compion declined to comment when approached by ch-aviation, saying the matter was sensitive as the airline now needed to reappear before the commission.