From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Namibian national carrier, Air Namibia, over the weekend marked its inaugural entry to Nigeria with a flight from Windhoek, the Southern African country’s capital, to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The airline, which starts with a four weekly flights, said the successful opening of the Lagos route actualised a long term plan to connect many countries in West to South Africa and other parts of the continent.
Excited at seeing his country’s flag carrier berth in Lagos, the Namibia High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Peingeondjabi Titus Shipoh, stated that both countries share a long history of solidarity and cooperation, with Nigeria playing a pivotal role in campaigning for Namibia’s decolonisation.
“Today, the political struggle is on and we continue to enjoy peace and stability,” he added. “However, the fight for the economic emancipation of Africa remains to be won. Africa is now the new economic frontier. Africa needs to deepen intra-Africa trade to facilitate integration and derive tangible benefits from globalisation.”
Commending the airline for taking advantage of the opening of African skies, he stressed that the role of transport and logistics sector has become extremely important for the continent, adding: “This is an opening of new and more dynamic chapter in furthering and consolidating relationship between Nigeria and Namibia.
“This route will enable cooperation in all sectors; facilitate entry of Namibian investors to this strategic market. Air Namibia’s venture into the ECOWAS market is to establish a win-win cooperation to exploit available business opportunities and add value to the natural resources that both our countries are endowed with.”
Meanwhile, Chike Ohiagu, the General Manager of APG, which is Air Namibia’s General Sales Agent, said there has been positive response to the airline’s flight to Nigeria with “a deluge of requests for tickets. It is good sign that Air Namibia has come to stay.”
For Air Namibia Spokesman, Paul Nakawa, “the first departure of Air Namibia to Accra from Lagos, Nigeria on June 29, 2018 was a major milestone for our airline as we journey forward. The creation of Air Namibia has gone a long way in connecting South and West Africa.
“This comes as another option given that there are other players already in the market. Our objective is to create inter African trade and integration. We launched five routes in a space of three years.”