THE Namibia Airline Pilots Association (NAPA) has released a statement highlighting the plight of around 77 professional Namibian pilots which have been left jobless after the announcement to liquidate Air Namibia.
NAPA president, Heino Jakob stated that the option of flying for another airline is off the table, as there simply just aren’t any jobs readily available. Jakob further stated that almost 75% of the country’s pilots currently have expired licences, which will make it almost impossible to apply successfully for jobs.
“Even if one were lucky enough to find such a job, it would mean leaving Namibia, friends, family and one’s culture with an “eviction” notice in hand. 77 Professional Namibian airline pilots will possibly be made redundant and left without hope to pursue their aviation career. For most it is not only a job, but a way of living,” Jakob said.
He added that pilots are highly trained experts in their field, dedicating their lives to aviation.
“This is enshrined further into us by regulations set to keep us operating safe and on par with all the technology on board the aircraft. These are a group of professionals that can’t just be filed into another group of “white collar” workers and as such needs to be looked after on other terms due to regulations, training, advancement of technology, and dedication required.” Jokob highlighted.
He said that the sudden removal of the national airline will have a profound negative impact on the economy that will be felt by most sectors in our economy.
According to the economic impact of Air Namibia report 2017, during the 2015/16 financial year, Air Namibia sustained 4550 jobs (directly and indirectly), raised N$316 million in tax revenue and contributed N$704 million to our GDP.
Jokob stated that global experience shows that once a national airline closes, it takes a tremendous amount of effort and financial investment to get a new airline going again.
“The tax revenues alone were equivalent to 55% of the subsidy received by the airline for 2015/16.
One could also further argue that the number of people that will be directly affected by the closure of Air Namibia will be much higher.” Jokob concluded.