Friday 23 April 2021
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Market Namibia better, Air Namibia told

Air Namibia this week launched new routes from Windhoek to Lagos, Nigeria and Accra in Ghana respectively, with both the Nigerian and Ghanaian’s diplomats urging the national carrier to market Namibia intensively as a tourist destination.
These routes add to the regional list of flight routes which include Cape Town, Durban, Gaborone, Johannesburg, Harare, Luanda, Lusaka and Victoria Falls that the airline already makes use of.
The new routes are said to have been introduced to achieve financial stability which is one of the airlines goals of working towards its current strategic plan to break even by 2021.
During the launch, High Commissioner of the Republic of Nigeria to Namibia, Lilian Onoh noted that Nigeria has a large population that is moving towards 200 million people.
She highlighted that Air Namibia should use this to their advantage by correctly marketing Namibia as a tourist destination which she believes is a challenge as not many people know of it.
Onoh emphasised that Air Namibia should not overlook this challenge because, people only come to countries which they know about.
“Now that these routes have been introduced, the airline and Namibia itself should market the country, so that those who plan on flying to Namibia know what to expect here” she said.
She explained that the airline should also look into sorting out access to visa applications to people in Lagos because there is an active Namibian honorary council.
“Visa applications to Namibia are a challenge for many travellers, but these should be offered in Lagos as well. I highly doubt that, people would want to travel all the way to Abuja to apply for a visa, spend a few days there waiting for their visa’s to get approved and then travel back to Lagos where they will have to board their flights. It is not cost efficient and people will end up spending more than they should be” explained Onoh.
Onoh further explained that if the visa issue is not sorted out, the possibility of Air Namibia’s success will be limited as it may lose out on customers.
Onoh also requested, that Namibia sensitizes itself at its airports when it comes to welcoming foreigners to Namibia.
“The manner in which people are welcomed in any country will determine if people will want to come back in the near future. There should be a warm welcome for those who are not Namibians, not only at the country’s airports but also at its hotels and resorts” she stated.
In addition the High Commissioner of Ghana to Namibia, Elizabeth Forgor, noted that Air Namibia would be resuming its flight to Ghana effective on 29 June which is a refreshing development. She added that various stakeholders in Namibia have found it prudent to consider the resumption of Air Namibia flights to West Africa.
Forgor highlighted that these route developments have come at a time when the whole of Africa is championing the Single African Air Transport Market, an Africa policy which is expected to contribute towards the promotion of trade, cross border investments and above all create jobs.
“Ghana welcomes the introduction of the Air Namibia Lagos-Accra route and we believe that this development would open up relations between Ghana and Namibia, most importantly, in the areas of trade, tourism, education, and cultural exchanges as well as collaborations which would be geared towards strengthening relations between the two countries and peoples ” Forgor concluded.
West African connection
Air Namibia’s acting managing director advocate Mandi Samson said the decision to launch flights into West Africa is in line with Air Namibia’s five  year strategic plan.
“As you will have seen elsewhere, the world is becoming smaller as a result of airlines increasing their operations to cover all grounds and link every possible city and town to each other. Ghana and Nigeria were arrived at during the full market potential analysis and studies done, where we undertook to launch five new routes in a space of three years,” she said.
According to Samson, two of the five routes are already launched and operative.
“Nigeria and West Africa in general is home to one of the world’s most populous nations. The market is big, we share a lot in common as far as values, history, culture and potential to do business together are concerned. The industry we operate in as Air Namibia is one where competition is fierce and cut-throat; to survive you have to be bold.
Recent entry into our market by some of the world’s major airlines is an indication that there is a market here in Namibia and in Africa.  We shall not sit and wait for others from outside to come take the cake and repeat the fruits while we stand aside and look,” she said.
Samson said the airline is aware that there are questions as to why Air Namibia decided to return to West Africa.
“Our answer to that is why are other airlines making it in West Africa? There is no route you get which is green, it is like a field, it has to be cultivated, nurtured and worked on to make it work.
We all as Namibian, Ghanaians and Nigerians need to commit and work hard to make this project work, for we are the ones to benefit from the improved levels of connectivity which will fuel business, cultural and touristic links between our nations.
This time around we are combining Lagos and Accra, with an added opportunity to transport people and goods between Lagos and Accra using fifth freedom traffic rights offered by the Nigerian and Ghanaian Governments, to which we are very grateful,” she said.
Previously Air Namibia operated into Accra, with no visa issuing office to facilitate travel to Namibia. This time around however, there is a High Commission in Accra for Namibia.
“It is also our sincere hope and trust that our Government will establish a visa issuing solution in Lagos, to supplement the one available in Abuja at the moment.
Through dedication and hard work, not by coincidence, our first flight out of Windhoek to Lagos is sold out (100% seats are sold). This is just one flight and there are many other flights to be operated which will not be full. But it is a sign good enough to show that there is potential,” she said.

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