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Namibia grounds cash-strapped national airline

[WINDHOEK] Namibia's transport ministry said on Wednesday it had grounded flights of its cash-strapped national airline as it had failed to provide a "safe and reliable service."

Air Namibia spokesmanson Paul Nakawa told AFP it could not comment on the suspension, which took immediate effect and which it learned of Monday in a ministry letter.

"Our engagement with the transportation ministry is ongoing," Nakawa said.

Transport commission head Eldorette Harmse said the carrier had failed to meet operating requirements, notably ability "to provide a safe, satisfactory and reliable air service."

The finance ministry announced last week that the airline needed some 7 billion rand (S$584.4 million) to stay airborne. It has 10 aircraft and close to 800 employees.

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The ministry gave the carrier until July 22 to provide evidence of having secured sufficient funding or risk having its operating licence cancelled.

The ministry said the airline may meantime only undertake humanitarian and repatriation flights related to the coronavirus state of emergency.

Namibian President Hage Geingob said last month the carrier faced liquidation as it was "not making any profit, just being bailed out."


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