March 15, 2002

Air Namibia restructured

The Namibian Government has agreed to pay off the debts of Air Namibia - amounting to N$ 1,4 billion - as part of a new ownership deal for the ailing airline. Under the agreement announced on March 14, Air Namibia in its existing form will come to an end on June 30. From July 1, Government (currently the sole owner of the airline) will own 25 per cent of the new Air Namibia. The largest shareholder will be South African Airlink with 40 per cent, while Comav, a local aviation company, will have a 15 per cent stake and Labour Investment Holdings (LIH), owned by the National Union of Namibian Workers, will have a 10 per cent share. In addition the airline's employees will have a 10 per cent shareholding in the new company. The new 10-person board will be comprised of four directors representing SA Airlink, three nominated by Government, and one each from LIH, the employees and Comav.

Cabinet has approved drastic restructuring measures which were recommended by the outgoing acting board of directors. The new company will still be called Air Namibia. The process will result in an unknown number of job losses. The restructuring will be accompanied by job losses, outgoing Chairman of the board of directors, Vekuii Rukoro confirmed. But the exact number of people to lose their jobs will only be known when the restructuring has been completed - in about three weeks time. (THE NAMIBIAN)

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