Air Namibia (SW, Windhoek Int'l) has denied news reports of a hostage drama involving its interim Chief Executive Officer Theo Mberirua as the cash-stricken flag carrier faces liquidation in the country’s High Court.

The Namibian newspaper reported that several staff members, disgruntled over unpaid bonuses, refused to let Mberirua leave his office last week.

However, Air Namibia spokesperson Twaku Kayofa told ch-aviation: “There was no hostage of Air Namibia’s Interim CEO or anything of that kind. The matter at hand was an engagement between the Interim CEO and Air Namibia employees. Amongst the matters that were discussed was the 13th cheque due to be paid by the employer to the employees. The discussion was fruitful, and employees received their 13th cheque (a monthly saving for staff) last week, Friday, November 27, 2020. All operations are ongoing, and the airline is servicing its routes as per the published schedule,” he said.

This comes as the airline prepares to re-appear in the Namibian High Court in the capital Windhoek on December 1, 2020, to defend an application for liquidation filed by the Belgian liquidator of defunct Challengair (1I, Brussels National) over overdue settlement payments relating to a historical debt on a B767-300(ER) lease.

The government reportedly was considering a NAD4.7 billion Namibian dollar (USD303.8 million) turnaround plan for Air Namibia, after the airline in October requested NAD193 million (USD11.6 million) 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, 2020, suspended its services to Cape Town and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo again for four weeks, because two of its four owned EMB-135ERs had to undergo scheduled heavy maintenance checks. It continues to operate domestic services with the remaining two ERJ-135s.