The first of four Airbus A319s has entered service with Air Namibia as the airline continues to strengthen its route network and renew its fleet.
The A319 entered service last month. For the moment it will be used on flights between Windhoek, Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and Accra.
Air Namibia received a second A319 late last month and plans to introduce a further two aircraft by November next year. The aircraft are part of Air Namibia’s plan to turn the airline around. The carrier said the aircraft are expected to improve reliability, passenger comfort and cost efficiency.
In August Flight International announced that Air Namibia had acquired a former Air Berlin A319-100 under an eight year lease from DVB Bank of Germany. The aircraft is configured with 96 economy and 16 business class seats.
“In keeping with its expansion programme and drive to become one of the premier airlines in Southern Africa, Air Namibia has recently acquired the Airbus A319-100 in a bid to further boos the Air Namibia fleet and as a part of the airline’s continual fleet renewal,” Air Namibia said.
“This is all in line with our revised business plan, which will see our airline achieve commercial success, while at the same time continuing to contribute positively to the economy,” Air Namibia General Manager: Commercial Services Xavier Masule told the Windhoek Observer.
Air Namibia is wholly owned by the Namibian government and serves as that country’s national airline. Air Namibia was established to develop the tourism sector and facilitate trade. The airline contributes around 1.9% (N$1.5 billion) to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for 2.5% of total employment in the country.
Earlier this year Air Namibia said it would “refine its business model, which entails upgrading and modernising our fleet, improving connectivity of our network, as well as introducing flights on new city pairs in the region.”
This process has been assisted by the government’s massive airport upgrade project. Over the coming five years Namibia will invest N$1.5 billion (R1.2 billion) on upgrading five of the country’s airports.
At the moment Air Namibia flies four Boeing 737-500s, three Embraer ERJ-135s and two Airbus A340-300s. The Boeings and Embraers undertake regional and domestic services from Windhoek while the A340s fly to Luanda and Frankfurt.
In April Air Namibia commenced operations with its newly acquired ERJ 135s, flying the aircraft between Walvis Bay and Johannesburg. Air Namibia is leasing three ERJ 135s configured with 37 seats to replace its four 19-seat Beechcraft 1900s. The decision to phase out the Beechcraft in June is in line with the decision to increase profitability in the region and on domestic routes. The regional jets are being leased from Air France subsidiary Regional – Compagnie Aerienne Europeenne.