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Private airline steps into the breech

Private airline steps into the breech

Niël Terblanché
Namibian aviation company, Westair Aviation based at the Eros Airport in Windhoek made history when it became the first privately owned airline under the brand FlyWestair to present a scheduled passenger airline service that would function parallel to Air Namibia.
The new era in Namibian aviation will start 24 June 2019 when Westair Aviation’s first scheduled passenger flight after the company was granted Designated Carrier Status by the Namibian Transport Commission will take flight.
“The accreditation makes Westair Aviation an official scheduled passenger airline, with flights to various destinations within the country and the sub region, under the brand name FlyWestair,” the statement said.
Wolfgang Grellmann, Chairman of the Westair Group announced the new development stating that: “The launch of FlyWestair is a natural evolution for Westair Aviation as a well established, fully integrated aviation services provider. We are on a continuous quest to improve the standard of aviation in Namibia.”
He said a definite need for a regular scheduled flight to Oranjemund exists and that the Government of Namibia have invested a lot of resources to create a future for Oranjemund town beyond mining and easy, frequent access to the town is pivotal in attaining that goal.”
According to the statement the first route to roll out will be three scheduled flights per week from Eros Airport in Windhoek to was fuelled by opportunities in the market of which the Windhoek-Oranjemund route presented the most immediate significance.
He said Ondangwa is the most frequented destination in the country and the Namibian Government invested heavily in runway and airport infrastructure through the Namibia Airports Company which wouldmake it another preferred destination for the new airline.
“As a proudly Namibian airline we are committed to service the majority of our population. When operational, it will also be possible to travel from Oranjemund to Ondangwa in one day.”
He said it was a natural progression going into scheduled services and indicated that the company has a fully equipped aircraft maintenance facility at Eros Airport that has the ability to do heavy maintenance and line maintenance on regional jet aircraft.
“Through our subsidiary Signa Aviation Services, we have also created the local capacity to train pilots locally for our airline operations.”
Grellmann said that as for additional routes, Westair is eligible to fly to various destinations in Namibia and the region and that the new destinations to be introduced will include Cape Town (serviced form Oranjemund and Windhoek), Walvisbay, Ondangwa and Johannesburg. Local flights on these routes are planned to start from July 2019, with regional flights to be introduced from August 2019 subject to on service agreements being reached with authorities and service providers.”
Grellman said specialised aviation services will remain the primary focus of Westair Aviation’s business but the FlyWestair development will officially establish a second scheduled service operator in the country.
In terms of the implication of the introduction of a second scheduled operator in the market for the national airline, Grellmann said: “We’ve always worked very closely with Air Namibia and we have leased aircraft on an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) basis to Air Namibia on a semi permanent basis for the last eighteen months. This lease agreement came to an end on 31 May 2019.
Grellmann was of the opinion that FlyWestair’s entrance to the market will serve the local economy and support Air Namibia in developing the sector to make Namibia more competitive in a competitive industry dominated by foreign operators.

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