Air Namibia has become the latest aviation casualty of the Covid-19 shutdown, with the carrier grounded by the national government.

Having spent upward of $500 million in recent years to the support the flag-carrier, officials said losses were no longer sustainable at a time of economic crisis.

All flights have been cancelled with immediate effect, with ten aircraft grounded.

The 644 employees of the state-backed airline will be made redundant, with each offered a severance package worth one year of their salary.

Air Namibia announced on its social media platforms that customers who have paid for flights should register for refunds.

The decision to close the airline was taken after careful consideration, according to the minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste.

“The national airline is not profitable, and it has not been profitable since its inception.

“The net economic costs of Air Namibia’s operations far outstrip the net gains, and it is thus unsustainable,” Jooste said last week.

He added: “At this stage, the country’s economy can no longer afford to perpetually provide financial support to Air Namibia at the expense of supporting economic growth and critical social services.

“Government considered all other options which included engagement with other airlines for potential investment partnership and various business plans to turnaround the company.”

The cost of liquidating Air Namibia is estimated to be $137 million, according to local press reports.

Image: Oliver Berg/DPA/PA Images