International Flights to Namibia Resuming
By Le Roux van Schalkwyk
With President Hage Geingob announcing yesterday that the state of emergency as declared on 17 March due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not be extended, Namibia is slowly and cautiously trying to revive its hard-hit tourism industry.
The Namibian government announced its tourism revival initiative in June this year as the country’s borders were preparing to reopen to tourists, but due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases during this time, it was postponed. Only in late August Environment, Forestry and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta announced that Hosea Kutako International Airport will reopen for international travellers as of 1 September 2020.
Even though flights didn’t resume immediately, Ethiopian Airlines landed on the Hosea Kutako International Airport runway on 11 September with 43 passengers from Addis Ababa onboard. It was the first airline to resume regular flights to Namibia following the closure of borders for more than five months.
Eurowings, a Lufthansa Group subsidiary, will be the second airline to return when it arrives this coming Sunday at 06:20 from Frankfurt. Germany being one of the main sources of tourists to Namibia, the resumption of the Frankfurt – Windhoek route will be a major step in resuscitating a tourism industry that has been brought to its knees by the global pandemic.
Yesterday, Qatar Airways announced the resumption of services to 13 destinations including Windhoek. Qatar will resume three weekly flights to Hosea Kutako International Airport starting from 15 October.
Although other international airlines have hinted at resuming routes to Windhoek, at this point fixed dates for arrival has yet to be set.