Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l) has asked the country's government to provide NAD1.6 billion (USD109 million) in emergency financial support by the end of this month, or else it could shut down. However, the Ministry of Works and Transport has rejected the request from the board of the national carrier.

The details are revealed in a resignation letter penned at the end of August by Deidré Sauls-Deckenbrock, the airline's former board chairwoman, and seen by The Namibian. The sum was intended as a short-term fix while the mid-term national budget was being finalised.

The company required “urgent shareholder capitalisation” of NAD1.6 billion to be paid in two tranches of NAD800 million each by August 31 and September 30, the letter to the transport and finance ministers urged, without which an “imminent cessation of business operations is the most likely impact”.

Sauls-Deckenbrock also said in the letter that Air Namibia wanted to resolve its longstanding dispute with the defunct Belgian carrier Challengair, which has for years been pursuing a court-awarded claim of EUR25 million euro (USD29 million), and requested that it seek settlement negotiations.

John Mutorwa, the transport minister, told The Namibian on September 16 that he had seen Sauls-Deckenbrock's letter but was adamant that the airline would not be bailed out. “I am a member of the Cabinet treasury committee, and I know there will be no bailout,” he said.

Calle Schlettwein, the finance minister, said about the carrier's request: “I have taken note of [it], but it is without indication of what they want to use the funds for. No cash flows, no statements at all. So I have written back to them, requesting such details. I have so far received some.” It is, he added, “a very complex matter, which is still under scrutiny. It's before the Cabinet treasury committee and we are busy formulating a strategy for them.”