Via Xinhua, a report datelined Windhoek: Ebola deals heavy blow on Air Namibia. Windhoek, Namibia, Google Maps tells me, is 8,080 kilometers (5,020 miles) from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Although Ebola virus has been contained in some affected African countries, Air Namibia is counting its losses which are said to be at 50 million Namibian dollars (about 5 million U.S dollars).
The airline's acting chief executive officer Rene Gsponer said last week that ever since the Ebola virus outbreak, Namibia has seen very few visitors from European countries.
"Up to October, because it was a peak season, we increased our booking numbers, out load factors and also our revenue so all the trends were very good but now we have a bit of a crisis because we are facing the Ebola effects," Gsponer told the media.
Gsponer said there has been a wrong perception that Namibia is one of the countries that have recorded Ebola cases, but it will not be easy for Namibia to change the perception. "We will have to make more marketing sales," he added. "We will be selling to the world that there has never been a case of Ebola in Namibia, making people understand that this is the most beautiful place and it is safe."
The Ebola virus effect comes at a time when Air Namibia had started making profit of about 5 million Namibian dollars to 25 million Namibian dollars, according to Gsponer.
Gsponer continued that if the company has a bad month it will be losing 50 million Namibian dollars.
He said Air Namibia's running costs are about 185 million Namibian dollars a month and that they need to be making about 200 million Namibian dollars a month.
According to Gsponer, Air Namibia used to make losses of about 600 million Namibian dollars per year but they now target about 200 million Namibian dollars loss per year. (One U.S. dollar equals about 10 Namibian dollars.)