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Thursday 19 September 2019
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More millions leaves Air Namibia European account

An amount of 200 717 Euros (nearly N$3,2 million at exchange rate yesterday) has been deducted from the Air Namibia European account as part of a legal judgment against the airline.
A CommerzBank document seen by this reporter shows that the money was taken from the bank account on Tuesday, 22 January 2019.
This is in addition to an amount of around N$8,3  million that it managed the withdrew earlier this month.
The deduction is part of an arrangement to recover an almost N$400 million judgement debt Air Namibia incurred during a legal challenge with the liquidated European aviation company, Challenge Air.
The Patriot also understands that Challenge Air’s lawyers visited the airport in Germany to see if there is any other property they can attach.
Sources said that grounding of the Namibian planes has far-reaching consequences should any delays be caused. The airline will be liable for all passengers and this may cost the entity millions.
According to Article 22 (1) of the Montreal Convention of 1999, in the event of any delay – in the absence of reasonable care – the carrier will be liable for each passenger for no more than 4 150 Special Drawing Rights.
The provision further states that delay of baggage, the carrier is liable for no more than 1000 Special Drawing Rights.
Special Drawing Rights refers to supplementary foreign-exchange reserve assets that is defined and mantained by the International Monetary Fund.
One Special Drawing Right was equivalent to N$19,28 by yesterday afternoon. According to The Air Namibia website, the 244-seater A330-200 has one scheduled flight to Frankfurt from Windhoek and another one from Frankfurt to Windhoek daily.
If Air Namibia is held liable under Article 22 of the convention on a fully booked flight to-and-from, they can pay up to just over N$39 million.
The Patriot last week reported that the European aviation authority is considering revoking Air Namibia’s operating licence for not honouring the million-dollar judgement debt.
It was also further reported that Challenge Air warned Air Namibia’s lawyers that all money paid for tickets through Europe will be blocked from 16 November until they reach the 25 million Euros in judgement debt.
A former Air Namibia board member told The Patriot yesterday that the Challenge Air matter is considered as legacy debt. The former board member said that they had asked the European company in 2015 if they could pay the judgement debt in installments.
Challenge Air allegedly refused the suggestion and said that they want the principal debt paid off at once, and would then be willing to have the interest paid in installments. An online Swiss airline news service, Ch-Aviation on Monday also reported that Challenge Air has begun seizing funds belonging to the national airliner in order to honour the German court ruling in its favour.
“The German court ruling carries significant weight as Air Namibia flies to Frankfurt and has assets, including bank accounts, in the German city,” the online publication reported.
The judgement debt arises from a dispute between the two parties over a March 1998 agreement where  Air Namibia agreed to lease a 351-seater, Boeing 767-300 from the now liquadated Eurpean aviation company.
The agreement was terminated by Air Namibia soon after they discovered that the aircraft was defective.
Following several articles in the media on the issue, Air Namibia this week released a statement explaining the current situation on the matter.
The airlines spokesperson Paul Nakawa in the media statement said that they assure all their stakeholders that necessary steps are being taken, to find a permanent solution to the matter.
He also said that the step include, but are not limited to them engaging Challenge Air over the matter.
Nakawa admitted that the steps taken by Challenge Air so far, has caused financial prejudice to the airline which, according to him, is “clearly aimed at exerting pressure”.
This is despite a reserved High Court judgement in Namibia, the spokesperson emphasised.
Air Namibia has throughout maintained its legal position on the matter admitting it has unsuccessfully prosecuted its position in this transaction with mostly hostile European tribunals despite the best available local and international counsel.
Nakawa added that they will be engaging the European Aviation Safety Agency with a view to explaining the current efforts of the airline in engaging Challenge Air.




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