Due to Nigeria diplomatic row with Namibia, the Air Namibia has suspended its flight on its Windhoek-Lagos-Accra route.
This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by Namibia’s national carrier.
The suspension was to take immediate effect. The carrier started in June 2018.
At the beginning of its operation, the airline generated high revenue due to the high numbers of passengers to and fro Nigeria.
One of the sources said, “There are some diplomatic issues that need to be resolved with the Namibian authorities. The issue has nothing to do with the high commission in Nigeria but with the high commission and immigration in Namibia.”
“During February 2019, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia banned the issuing of visas to Namibian passport holders,” the airline said.
Another major issue is the fact that when the airlines take off from Nigeria, it is crowded to Namibia but when the airline is returning, it comes back empty but Nigerians going to Namibia have no issues with processing visas but the issue of profitability is the major reason.
“In addition, there are messages circulating in Nigeria about Namibia being ‘anti-Nigeria’, with travellers being urged to avoid visiting Namibia, as well as avoid using Windhoek as a transit point when travelling to South Africa.
“The load factor performance of the route dropped from average 55% attained during June 2018 to January 2019, to between 35% and 38% during February to April 2019.
Wimpie van Vuuren, the acting general manager of commercial services, said the ban on issuing visas to Namibians could be “linked to allegations that Nigerians are normally ill-treated by Namibian border control officials at Hosea Kutako International Airport when arriving or transiting through Windhoek”.
The airline said its efforts to mitigate the diplomatic issues by consulting with stakeholders proved futile.
“All affected passengers will be assisted by accommodating them on flights operated by partner airlines at Air Namibia’s cost, or they will be refunded if they opt not to fly anymore.”