07 Oct 2016 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 07 OCT (NAMPA) Air Namibia should see the introduction of other airlines as being both supplementary and competitive, Works and Transport Deputy Minister James Sankwasa has said.
Air Namibia should learn from the experienced airlines, Sankwasa said when Ethiopian Airlines inaugural flight to Windhoek landed at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) on Thursday at around 16h00. Ethiopian Airlines will have three flights between Addis Ababa and Windhoek per week.
We value the unparalleled efforts by the Namibian Government to ensure that the continent implements the January 2015 decision of the African Union Heads of State with regard to the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market by 2017, Sankwasa said.
The minister said Namibia and Ethiopia have chosen to be in the forefront of this important step in African air transportation growth, adding that these new routes will give an additional lift to trade, finance, tourism and cultural exchanges.
Sankwasa said the benefits of open skies include lower air fares for travellers; a wider choice for travellers; improved tourism growth; and competition amongst air transport carriers.
He further observed that the introduction of the new route by Ethiopian Airlines will lead to increased intra-Africa connectivity and can serve as a gateway for trade integration.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia Airports Company (NAC) acting Chief Executive officer Courage Silombela said the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines in Namibia presents massive opportunities for growth in the aviation industry.
It is important to highlight that Namibia is geographically well positioned, giving us a competitive advantage to our competitors within the region. It is an opportunity that we must exploit aggressively to fulfil our national development goals, Silombela said.
Ethiopian Airlines inaugural flight follows that of Qatar Airways on 28 September 2016.
Another airline expected to start operating in Namibia is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, with three flights per week between Amsterdam and Windhoek.