Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l) has presented a new NAD4.7 billion Namibian dollar (USD303.8 million) business plan to the country’s government aimed at turning around the struggling state-carrier which is still facing liquidation in the Windhoek High Court.

This was confirmed to the Namibian Sun by Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste who said the plan was slightly different to a previous version and would be discussed with the country’s Finance and Transport ministries to chart a way forward for the airline. No further insight was given into the details of the plan.

The airline’s board in October already requested NAD193 million (USD11.6 million) from the state to restart operations following losses sustained during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Just over two weeks after resuming international flights to South Africa on October 28, the carrier on November 16 again suspended its routes to Cape Town and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo for four weeks because two of its four EMB-135ERs were to undergo scheduled heavy maintenance checks. It said its domestic services would be unaffected as these would be operated with the remaining two aircraft.

Meanwhile, Jooste said the success of the new business plan proposal hinged on how compelling it would be to the government. “We need to be convinced that they have a proper strategy; they have to convince us,” he said. Political will for yet another state bailout for Air Namibia appears questionable. Namibia's President Hage Geingob in June proposed the liquidation of the flag carrier. Liquidation was expected to cost the government NAD2.5 billion (USD162 million) relating to an existing government guarantee for the lease agreement with Castlelake of an A330-200 and would be the cheapest option already proposed by former finance minister Calle Schlettwein last year. Schlettwein at the time said rescuing the airline would cost the Namibian taxpayer between NAD3.5 billion (USD226.7 million) and NAD4.1 billion (USD265.5 million) over three years.

The airline is to reappear in the Namibian High Court on December 1, 2020, in which it is opposing an application to have it liquidated filed by the Belgian liquidator of defunct Challengair (1I, Brussels National) over overdue settlement payments relating to a historical debt of a B767-300(ER).