Air Namibia has confirmed that it flew passengers to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on a special chartered flight to repatriate stranded foreigners on Sunday.
Flights to and from Germany, Ethiopia and Qatar have been banned until 14 April as part of Namibia's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The first two cases detected in Namibia were of a Romanian couple who had entered Namibia on a flight from Doha, Qatar.
Non-Namibians are now unable to enter Namibia for the duration of the state of emergency, except those who have permanent residence permits. Everyone entering the country will be quarantined.
“It was a special chartered flight (one-off) from Windhoek to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, using the Airbus A330,” said Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa.
“The plane carried 154 passengers from Windhoek to Addis Ababa, returning to their respective countries. The special flight operated on 22 March.” Nakawa said the airline made a quick turnaround to return both the aircraft and its crew to Namibia in the shortest possible time. The flight departed Windhoek at 12:22 (local time), arriving at 18:01 in Addis Ababa.
The plane then made a quick turnaround, leaving Addis at 19:20 and returned to base in Windhoek at 00:50.
Nakawa said the airline put in place the necessary preventive measures to safeguard the health of the crew operating the flight.
“Our crew, both cockpit and cabin, never disembarked upon landing in Addis Ababa.
“This was part of the conditions of the one-off agreement,” Nakawa said.
He added that the airline had cancelled its daily flights to Frankfurt, Germany, in compliance with measures introduced by President Hage Geingob to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Other routes suspended include Lusaka, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, while the airline has cut the frequency of flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Air Namibia continues to comply with all government directives in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“The airline continuously disinfects all aircraft and remains on high alert.
All Air Namibia passengers will always be subjected to extensive screening on arrival,” Nakawa said.