A Namibian High Court case in which Air Namibia (Windhoek International) faced being liquidated was settled out of court on January 29 before proceedings commenced, the airline confirmed to ch-aviation.

Air Namibia spokesperson Twaku Kayofa confirmed the airline had agreed to pay a historical debt to the bankruptcy estate of defunct Belgian carrier Challengair (Brussels National).

Air Namibia was due to have re-appeared in the Windhoek High Court on Friday morning to defend an application to have it liquidated filed by Anicet Baum, the Belgian liquidator of Challengair, relating to overdue monthly payments of a settlement of NAD400 million Namibian dollars (USD24.2 million) following a longstanding dispute over the lease and maintenance of a B767-300(ER) in 1998. The case had already been postponed twice from December and October 2020 respectively.

Kayofa confirmed reports that the lawyers representing both parties had informed the presiding judge that they had reached a settlement minutes before court proceedings commenced.

According to the settlement plan, Air Namibia has agreed to pay the estate of Challengair EUR9.9 million euros (USD11.9 million), EUR5 million (USD6 million) of which will be due before February 19, 2021, to be followed by monthly payments of EUR677,175.50 (USD819,914.61) until January 2022.

As previously reported, Air Namibia's interim Chief Executive Officer Theo Mberirua, in an earlier affidavit, said the airline had already repaid about NAD23.5 million (USD1.5 million) of the outstanding settlement claim. He also disputed Baum's allegation that the airline was insolvent. He said the airline would be able to pay its debt with the financial support of the Namibian government, which is reportedly considering a NAD4.7 billion (USD303.8 million) turnaround plan for Air Namibia. The airline in October requested NAD193 million (USD11.6 million) to restart operations following losses sustained because of the COVID-19 lockdown.