Air Namiabia terminates Gaborone route

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Air Namibia has announced the termination of its direct flight from Windhoek to Gaborone citing challenges such as low traffic volumes coupled with fuel price hikes.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, Air Namibia general manager for commercial services Xavier Masule said the decision would allow them to go back to the drawing board and re-strategise before re-entering the market at a later stage.He explained that they knew from the start that there was limited traffic  on the route but hoped that the introduction of a direct service would help grow traffic levels.He said some of the challenges included the economic recession, which saw airlines' annual revenues dropping by billions of dollars.

Although the industry recovered to reach pre-recession traffic levels during 2011, it became stagnated. The suspension of the direct flight, which started May 2012, will take effect June 1, 2013.The airline is currently operating three flights per week. Masule said although they recorded growth in traffic and had frequent flyers on the route, the levels are not sufficient to reach desired economic levels which looked set to take a lot longer.Moreover, Masule explained that since the operation, they managed to capture 86 percent market share which translates to a load factor of 35 percent, meaning that they are still at a shortfall. He pointed out that even if they had 100 percent market share, it was still going to be lower than 45 percent load factor.

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