Flag carrier, Air Namibia, is making steady progress in settling the N$300 million legacy debt it owes the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) in landing fees and airport taxes, the Windhoek Observer has established.
In the period between December last year and March this year, Air Namibia paid a total N$44 million towards servicing its debt to the airport parastatal.
The Windhoek Observer reported in August last year that the carrier was in talks with NAC to settle the debt owed.
At the time, Air Namibia said it was auditing past invoices to determine the exact amount of fees it owed NAC, which has on numerous occasions offered threats to either ban the airline from operating from its airports or drag it to court over the unpaid fees.
NAC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Albertus Aochamub, confirmed the payments in an interview with the Windhoek Observer.
“There are two separate accounts. The first one is the normal aviation services (space rental, aeronautical fees, ground handling) which has been paid N$328,000. The other is the historical debt, which has been paid N$44 million from December 2017 to March 2018.
“March is our financial year end. We will report end of May on the new payments received for the new financial year,” Aochamub said.
NAC Chairperson, Rodgers Kauta, announced last month that Air Namibia was “doing well in complying with the settlement agreement entered between the two parties”.
Air Namibia’s Manager of Corporate Communications, Paul Nakawa, refused to say how often payments are made to the NAC and when airline expects to settle the full debt.
“As this question relates to a transaction between us and our supplier, we are not in position to divulge these figures to third parties.
“Air Namibia and NAC are sister companies. We meet on regular basis and we have agreed on terms how the payment will be affected. The agreed terms remain part of our joint resolution,”Nakawa said.
Air Namibia is scheduled to receive a N$740 million subsidy from government in the 2018/19 financial year, a further N$676 million in 2019/20 and N$698 million in the following year.
The NAC is responsible for the development and management of eight airports in the country.
The company’s main objectives are to ensure the arrival, surface movement, parking or departure of aircraft, the servicing of aircraft, including the supply of fuel and lubricants, ground handling of aircraft, and making sure that passengers, baggage and cargo are well-managed.