The Namibian Government has begun courting would-be investors for Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l) as it explores all avenues of opportunity to save its loss-making national carrier.

The Namibian newspaper, citing internal company communications, said Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste had initiated the process of finding a strategic partner in late August.

“Three airlines, namely South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Lufthansa indicated an interest to pursue further discussions,” the minister said in a letter to Air Namibia's board chairman Dee-Sauls Deckenbrock dated August 28.

Concerning the Germans, CEO Carsten Spohr is said to have responded to Jooste's letter stating that Lufthansa would study the minister's offer which focussed on a partnership involving either a revenue-sharing joint venture arrangement or "more ideally" an equity-based investment in the airline and all its operations.

He added that an expert may be needed to help renegotiate Air Namibia's A330-200 leases with Castlelake given the widebody jets are a primary cause of the airline's financial malaise.

“The services of the same expert may be required to assist in negotiations to terminate the A330 lease agreements at an opportune time and appropriate manner after a final decision is taken on this matter,” he said.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein told Cabinet earlier this year that the government had pumped a total of NAD8.3 billion Namibian dollars (USD560 million) into Air Namibia from 1999 to 2019. He also warned that saddled with a legacy debt of NAD1.3 billion (USD87.8 million), Air Namibia may not last another 12 months.