Air Namibia to wait for court judgement
AIR NAMIBIA says it will not engage with any Namibian individuals or companies claiming to be official representatives of the Belgian airline ChallengAir until the courts recognise a local liquidator for the bankrupt Belgian company.
In a statement released today (Friday), the state-owned company said it would not engage with the liquidated Belgian airline, adding that the question of the validity of an arbitral award in ChallengAir's favour still remained to be determined in the courts.
The Namibian reported in January that ChallengAir, which is being liquidated, was pressuring Air Namibia to pay N$400 million to it, despite an ongoing court case.
The government said last year it would defend a case brought by ChallengAir in the Namibian High Court in an attempt to take over Air Namibia and TransNamib assets because of a payment dispute around a cancelled aircraft lease transaction from the late 1990s.
Following a 2008 arbitration ruling against Air Namibia and TransNamib and in favour of ChallengAir, the Belgian company was awarded 25 million euro – currently the equivalent of about N$$467 million – by courts in Paris (in 2011) and Munich (in 2015) as compensation for outstanding debts owed by Air Namibia in connection with a an aircraft lease agreement with ChallengAir that was cancelled in 1998.
“It is unfortunate that certain individuals have chosen to create incorrect perceptions about the facts in this matter, thereby attempting to unduly influence Air Namibia for their personal gain or to engage underhandedly to pre-empt the outcome before the Namibian High Court has pronounced itself on the matter,” Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa said.
Nakawa further said the Namibian courts have not officially recognised any local liquidator for ChallengAir, and that Air Namibia would therefore not acknowledge, engage or negotiate with any Namibian individuals or companies purporting to be official representatives of ChallengAir in Namibia.
“We remain committed to finalising the matter swiftly and will provide a further update for the benefit of all our loyal stakeholders once the Namibian High Court has ruled on the matter,” he said.
Nakawa added that during the recent weeks Air Namibia had been in direct engagement with ChallengAir, through their legally appointed and recognised European receiver, to determine viable options to resolve the situation.