May 22, 2017 / 5:03 PM / 2 years ago

Loss-making Air Namibia wins permit to fly into U.S.: report

Air Namibia (L) and Kenya Airways aircraft are parked at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - State-owned Air Namibia has won approval to fly into the United States and hopes to generate revenues through its codesharing agreements, the government-run daily New Era reported on Monday,

The newspaper quoted the loss-making carrier’s acting managing director, Mandi Samson, saying the airline received its foreign air carrier permit in April.

Until now, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, Moroccan Royal Air Maroc and Cape Verde’s TACV airline have been the only African airlines holding the right to fly passengers in and out of the United States, the paper said.

Samson also said the national airline was awaiting government approvals for new routes within Africa, according to New Era. She gave no further details on the possible new routes and did not say when Air Namibia would introduce U.S. flights.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein has proposed Air Namibia terminate the loss-making Windhoek-Frankfurt route to save costs. Officials say the airline loses 30 million Namibian dollars ($2.27 million) annually on the route.

Other government officials have expressed concerns that scrapping its only international route would hurt tourism, Namibia’s second biggest economic sector after mining.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson declined to comment, while the U.S. Department of Transportation was not immediately available for comment.

($1 = 13.2300 Namibian dollars)

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; editing by Richard Lough

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