Ethiopia Air touches down

Namibia continues to make strides in its efforts to become a formidable force in logistics, most recently welcoming Ethiopia Airways to its market.

Hosea Kutako International Airport last week welcomed Ethiopia Airways, the second major international airline to commence commercial flights from there in less than a month.

The first inaugural flight on the new route Addis Ababa – Gaborone – Windhoek touched down at Namibia''s international airport on Thursday afternoon.

It follows the arrival of Qatar Air in Namibia on 28 September, and ahead of the anticipated arrival of Royal Dutch KLM.

“These new routes as witnessed over the last two weeks will give an additional lift to trade and tourists and continue the momentum towards closer ties,” the deputy minister of works and transport, James Sankwasa, said at a welcoming ceremony for Ethiopia Airways.

“The introduction of a new route between Windhoek and Addis Ababa will bring about increased intra-African connectivity. Namibia is expanding its air service development, given its geographical position, in pursuit of becoming a logistics hub,” he said.

Also speaking at the event was Namibia Airports Company acting CEO Courage Silombela, who hailed the development as a plus in terms of reduced connectivity time, increased flight frequencies, and ultimately reduced travel costs for consumers.

“The economic benefits for both countries will be numerous as air transportation is an enabler to facilitate increased tourist flows, as well as cultivating trade facilitation between the countries,” Silombela said.

“This new route will open doors to new markets, which in turn will boost our economy and employment opportunities.”

But Silombela acknowledged current infrastructure limitations, which he said were being addressed.

“NAC has developed smart strategies in order to accommodate all new airlines. This is done in terms of slot allocation in the meantime,” he said.

“However, plans to expand our infrastructure are under way to address the ever-increasing traffic demands at our flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport.”

Noting his mandate to ensure the growth and expansion of Namibia''s national airline, Sankwasa called on Air Namibia to embrace the challenges posed by increased competition from global airline brands.

“Air Namibia should see the introduction of other airlines as both supplementary and competitive, allowing for learning from such seasoned airlines,” he said.

Source: Denver Isaacs - Namibian Sun

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