Air Namibia pilots face bleak future

With the imminent liquidation of the airline, it will be difficult for its pilots to find meaningful employment elsewhere.

26 February 2021 | Transport

FRANCOISE STEYNBERG

WINDHOEK

The licences of at least 75% of Air Namibia’s pilots have expired, according to the Namibia Airline Pilots Association (NAPA).

Speaking on ‘Kletskompas’, NAPA president Heino Jakob said the grounding of the airline due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the expiration of the pilots’ licences.

With the imminent liquidation of the airline, Jakob said it would be difficult for its pilots to find meaningful employment elsewhere.

“Even if you are lucky enough to get a job, it would mean you have to leave Namibia, your friends, family and your culture with an eviction order in your hand. Seventy-seven professional Namibian airline pilots may be redundant and without hope of continuing their aviation careers. For some of us, it’s not just a job but a lifestyle,” Jakob said.

The closure of Air Namibia is expected to affect the livelihoods of 4 500 people, Jakob said.

According to Jakob, it has been proven worldwide that once an airline closes, it often takes huge effort and enormous financial resources to establish a new airline.

Jakob predicted that it could take as much as five years, should the government decide to start a new airline.

“If we ever started a new airline again, most of the pilots, ground staff and cabin crew would have taken a different career path,” Jakob said.

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