Air Namibia unable to refund bookings

According to a source close to the matter, there is a possibility that the airline may be unable to use the International Air Transport Association’s global ticketing system.

23 October 2020 | Transport

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

Air Namibia is unable to offer refunds to passengers who made bookings prior the coronavirus state of emergency in March, and is asking these passengers to seek alternative dates for travel.

The beleaguered airline also owes the International Air Transport Association (IATA) more than N$26 million.

According to a source close to the matter, there is a possibility that the airline may be unable to use the association’s global ticketing system. The system is used to make flight bookings.

“The airline is processing the refunds for unused tickets as the funds become available. Furthermore, Air Namibia is engaged with the shareholder on the issue and it could be resolved soon,” its spokesperson Twaku Kayofa said.

Commenting on the money due to IATA, Kayofa said it was a consequence of the state of emergency declared in March. The emergency lapsed in September.

“The money due to IATA is occasioned by unflown ticket liability which arose as a result of the airline’s inability to operate since the nation went into lockdown as a result of the state of emergency which was declared during March 2020,” Kayofa said.

Risk mitigation

The association says Air Namibia remains as an active member of its settlement system, but action would be taken if necessary.

“This is an internal matter between IATA and the airline in question. The airline currently is an active participant in IATA’s settlement systems.

“IATA has a responsibility to protect the viability of the industry’s financial settlement systems which it operates and this includes taking appropriate risk mitigation actions, as per applicable resolutions, as seen necessary,” the association said.

Belgian company Challenge Air SA recently applied for Air Namibia’s liquidation. It also rejected a settlement offer made by the airline, saying there was no guarantee that it would get money owed to it by third parties contracted to Air Namibia.

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