The Namibian government has confirmed it is negotiating settlement terms of NAD2.3 billion Namibian dollars (USD154 million) owed to Castlelake for two A330-200s that were leased by the now-defunct Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l), reports the Namibian Sun.

Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste confirmed: “We are in the process of negotiating a settlement,” but declined to provide further details.

The Namibian state-carrier was formally liquidated on March 26, 2021, after no opposing papers were filed against a liquidation application brought by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC). The national airline had owed NAD714 million (USD47.7 million) to the NAC in outstanding aeronautical and ground handling charges. The airline had been in provisional liquidation since February 26, 2021.

Castlelake bought the two aircraft - V5-ANO (msn 1451) and V5-ANP (msn 1466) - from Intrepid Aviation, which had originally leased them to Air Namibia in 2013. The Namibian government had guaranteed the lease, which had cost Air Namibia USD1.1 million per aircraft per month. The aircraft replaced the airline's then fleet of A340-300s and were used to fly between Windhoek Int'l and Frankfurt Int'l, Air Namibia's biggest loss-making route. When it became clear that Air Namibia could not honour the payments, the government in 2019 unsuccessfully tried to exit the lease early.

As previously reported from 2019 discussion papers by the former Air Namibia board, NAD2.4 billion (USD163.9 million) would be payable to lessors if the carrier terminated leases early. In addition to paying the lease rate over the remaining four-year lease term, Air Namibia would have to forfeit a NAD94 million (USD6.4 million) security deposit with the lessor.

At the time of its collapse, Air Namibia's fleet consisted of four A319-100s (of which two are owned and two were leased from Deucalion Aviation Funds), the two leased A330-200s from Castlelake, four owned EMB-135ERs, and one B737-500 (stored). According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the two A319-100s leased from Deucalion – V5-ANK (msn 3588) and V5-ANL (msn 3346) – are currently stored at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo. The airline’s own two A319-100s – V5-ANM (msn 5366) and V5-ANN (msn 5400) - are stored at Windhoek International.

Meanwhile, Air Namibia’s liquidators, Windhoek-based Ian Robert McLaren and David John Bruni, have been instructed to oversee payments to creditors who have to lodge their claim applications. The liquidation is set to cost Namibian taxpayers NAD5.6 billion (USD375 million), while the airline’s combined assets are worth about NAD900 million (USD60.2 million). The Namibian government had spent NAD9 billion (USD602 million) in bailing out the state-owned carrier in the past decade.