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MTE: Mr. Andre Compion, Managing Director, FlyNamibia, Namibia.


As we continue our Meet The Executive series, we were delighted to sit down with Mr. Andre Compion from FlyNamibia, a relatively new, refreshing and commercially focussed airline in West Africa; a carrier that has caught our eye due to it's conservative and well planned value adding approach to doing business in it's key markets.


da: Firstly, I would like to welcome you Mr Compion and congratulate you on continued success at FlyNamibia.

For our global clients and followers to get to know you a little better, can you share some insights into your background, your career to date and aviation aspirations?


AC: I started flying at the age of 16 and have never lost my passion for flying. I exchanged my career as Pharmacist for that of a Pilot after having obtained my Commercial License in December 1992. I started flying for Air Namibia but soon started my own charter company, Comav, operating from Eros airport in Windhoek, Namibia. Comav developed into a diversified aviation enterprise, operating especially C208’s and B1900’s on non-scheduled charters and contracts, medevacs, scheduled passenger and cargo flights as well as owning an AMO at Eros.


After the sale of Comav I went into farming full-time. The opportunity to get back into aviation presented itself when I brokered a deal between Airlink and Westair Aviation to become co-shareholders in FlyNamibia. I currently act as Managing Director and shareholder of FlyNamibia.


FlyNamibia’s vision is to become a major domestic and regional airline in Southern Africa. We are uniquely positioned by virtue of our shareholders to have immediately gained massive critical mass through our 4Z Franchise partnership with Airlink on the one hand and Westair’s impressive technical capacity and aircraft fleet on the other. We envisage a dominant role as the primary feeder airline for large long-haul and regional carriers feeding into Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport.


da: Air Namibia was liquidated in 2021 following a EUR9.9 million euro (USD11.9 million) settlement of historical debt, do you think a government owned airline is still in the works?


AC: We acknowledge that strong sentiments in favour of a National Airline still exists in certain circles. Our focus however is play a crucial role in the development of our country’s aviation industry and through that, in the growth of our economy by training and employing of our fellow Namibians. FlyNamibia is already established as a safe, reliable and dependable airline, expanding rapidly but sustainably, that contributes to the fiscus. We are committed to responsibly satisfy the demands of the market in which we operate.


da: Since the national carrier's liquidation Fly Namibia has been able to step up and pick up the slack. Have you been able to cover Namibia and the regional market the defunct Air Namibia used to serve?


AC: FlyNamibia is a privately owned and funded airline. We ensure that we develop routes that have the potential to become financially viable and sustainable. As such, we have taken a conscious decision to only operate on routes that make financial sense. We do experience that with the growth of the Namibian economy, especially in the tourism, mining and oil & gas sectors, that new opportunities are presenting themselves and we are committed to develop such opportunities at the appropriate time.


da: What kind of carrier and network will you be looking to develop especially given the strong Eastern and Southern African carriers which fly to Namibia daily?


AC: FlyNamibia will develop a strong domestic and regional feeder network through which we would be able to distribute passengers from our codeshare and interline partners. As an IATA member and Airlink Codeshare Partner we can offer seamless connectivity to the global network served by Airlink and it’s partners. Namibia’s unique and diverse offerings, spread over a sparsely populated area of more that 820,000 square kilometres makes flying a necessity. Fulfilling that need is FlyNamibia’s mission.


da: The liquidated Air Namibia still has assets some Embraers and Airbus' by our count they are six, will FlyNamibia be acquiring and resuscitating those aircraft to bolster its fleet?


AC: FlyNamibia leases its fleet from Westair and it’s associated entities. One of those entities has purchased the ex-Air Namibia ERJ135’s and FlyNamibia will lease some of those aircraft. FlyNamibia has no need for narrow body aircraft and as such will not consider any Airbus products at this stage.


da: Speaking of fleet, what is your fleet size and specifications consists of how many and what aircraft type? What are your future plans?


AC: We currently operate 4 ERJ145’s and also have a fleet of Cessna 406 and Beechcraft 1900 D’s. We will continue operating the ERJ fleet for the foreseeable future and will increase frequency rather than capacity as demand increases.



da: You basically fly five routes, clock and counter clockwise. How is the load factor on specific routes plus, do you plan to expand your destinations seeing that Air Namibia left a gap that needs to be filled.


AC: Regionally, we have only flown to Cape Town from Windhoek but we’re currently rolling out services between Cape Town and Walvis Bay and also between Windhoek and Luanda, Maun and Vic Falls. Domestically, we serve all major towns in the country. We also have a specialized tourism product connecting the tourist hotspots in the country. We evaluate every opportunity and will only serve routes where sustainable revenues can be generated. Our present route network satisfies this requirement.


da: South Africa's Airlink purchased 40% of the carrier how has this purchase impacted on flyNamibia's capital base and operations, do you feel if the government of Namibia decide to resuscitate its national carrier, it will not have any adverse effect of you?


AC: Airlink has evaluated the business case presented to it by FlyNamibia and has decided to take up an equity share based on the robustness of our model. Whilst the 2 airlines remain competitors on shared routes the synergies between the 2 operations are mutually beneficial, exponentially so in FlyNamibia’s favor. Both our airlines compete with a number of other operators and we will approach any new entrant on our routes, Government owned or not, just like we do with the rest.


It was an absolute pleasure to sit down with an industry visionary that has developed such a credible and well established carrier in such a short period of time. FlyNamibia is based upon conservative and sound financial fundamentals and we are in no doubt that the management team has the right focus and have applied excellent business acumen in adding value to the country's tourism sector, connecting the country domestically and regionally and has laid the foundations of a successful business model through key alliance partnerships.


This is certainly a carrier to watch and learn from going into the future and breaks the mould when we look at the normal West African airline business model. Thus far their approcah has been textbook. We wish Mr Compion and his team continued success and look forward to bringing you regular updates from FlyNamibia as the airline grows well into the future.



About FlyNamibia


FlyNamibia, Namibia’s only scheduled passenger airline, was originally founded as FlyWestair by the Westair Group of Companies, Namibia’s largest diversified aviation group. The name has since been changed to FlyNamibia.

The airline was established to provide scheduled passenger services both domestically and regionally with the aim of distributing passengers as feeder airline for larger regional and international carriers.

The airline operates a fleet of Embraer Regional Jets on its trunk routes as well as B1900 and turboprops to popular tourist destinations.

FlyNamibia is a private, independent airline co-owned by Airlink from South Africa (40%), Westair Aviation from Namibia (40%) as well as two private Namibian individuals (20%) and a proud member of IATA.

Domestically, all major towns are serviced with the ERJ fleet whilst the B1900 and C208 fleet provides scheduled services to the tourism hotspots throughout the country.

Regionally, FlyNamibia flies to Cape Town and shortly also to Maun, Vic Falls and Luanda.

The airline takes pride in it’s Namibian roots and provides all support services locally through its shareholders’ affiliated entities, including maintenance, aircraft leases, training and catering. Revenue is thereby retained in Namibia whilst jobs are created through ancillary services. As a privately owned entity FlyNamibia proudly contributes significantly to our fiscus.

FlyNamibia is committed to contribute to the growth of aviation in Namibia and the Namibian economy. Training and the employment of Namibians enjoy the highest priority. As such, the airline will continue to contribute to create a better life for all our fellow Namibians.



We will continue to follow the progress at FlyNamibia and hope to have Mr Compion join us on our soon to be launched Podcast series and exciting new Aviation media platform in the not too distant future.


Ends.






Jo Moore, London

Anthony Omoh, Lagos


dre aviation

Africa's Leading Airline Consultancy

London





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