Namibia’s flag carrier Air Namibia has taken delivery of its first A330-200 airliner from Airbus during a ceremony at the manufacturer’s facility in Toulouse, France.
The aircraft, the first of two being leased from US lessor Intrepid Aviation, was handed over during a ceremony on September 25. The aircraft will be leased for a period of 12 years, replacing the carrier’s leased A340-300s.
The new A330 features a two-class cabin layout seating 244 passengers, which comprises 30 business class seats and 214 economy class seats, Airbus said.
Air Namibia started commercial services with its first Airbus aircraft in 2006 with an A340-300. The airline currently operates four A319s on regional routes, as well as two A340-300s on its flagship service from Windhoek to Frankfurt. The carrier took delivery of two new A319-100s in December last year.
“The high efficiency and low operating costs of the A330 makes it a perfect fit into our fleet. With an aircraft we know to be both reliable and comfortable it will offer the best flight experience to our passengers,” said Theopoltina M Namases, Managing Director of Air Namibia.
“We are delighted to welcome Air Namibia as a new A330 operator,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The airline will benefit from unparalleled fuel efficiency and reliability and the passengers from the most comfortable cabin in its class. The unique fleet commonality between Airbus aircraft families allows the A330 to fit seamlessly into Air Namibia’s existing fleet.”
Air Namibia is renewing its fleet and attempting to return to profitability as part of its turnaround strategy. Acquiring new, more efficient aircraft with lower maintenance costs will help reduce government financial support given to the carrier, according to Namases. Apparently the new aircraft will reduce fuel costs by 13%, saving up to N$8.5 million per month.
The second A330 will be delivered in November. As reported in the Namibia Economist, Namases said the new aircraft would give the airline’s fleet an average age of six years, making it one of the youngest fleets in the region. Air Namibia’s average fleet age was 18 years in December 2010.