Air Lease 80, an Ireland-based aircraft manufacturer, has approached Air Namibia, seeking to trigger a contract clause to retrieve two of the South African company biggest airplanes. This move was initiated after the government’s decision to shut the airline down.
The 244-seater A330-200 is the national airline’s biggest asset and mostly plied the Windhoek-Frankfurt route. Air Namibia’s current fleet includes the two leased Airbus A330-200 aircraft, two Airbus A319-100 airplanes and four Embraer ERJ 135s.
The lease agreement on the Airbus plane covers a period from May 2012 to October 2025. However, the government’s decision to shut the national airline prematurely, implies that this agreement would have to be annulled. The cost of the cancellation is put at about N$2.4 billion.
The company’s director, Patrick Waldron says his company reserves the rights to retake possession of the aircraft because the national airline had defaulted.
In a mail to the management of Air Namibia, marketing Vice President of Castlelake aircraft, Sigfus Olafsson sought “kind assistance to arrange for the ferry flight of the two A300-200 aircraft to a storage location as early as next week”
Castlelake’s technical boss, Andrew Titus-Glover also emailed Air Namibia’s maintenance manager, Stanley Kariko, outlining the preparation of the aircraft’s return to Europe for storage in Leipzig, Malta, or Nimes.
Namibian Government’s subsidy of about N$500 million was paid per year to cover aircraft leases, and maintenance cost estimated at N$ 414 million.
Apart from parting with the lease rate, Air Namibia may forfeit N$94 million security deposit currently domiciled with the lessor.
Government sources say as at August 2020, Air Namibia’s assets at book value stood at N$981 million, while the airline owes around N$3 billion.
Over 600 Air Namibia employees would be jobless if the airline winds up.