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May 29, 2024
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South Africa-based Airlink has resumed cargo operations at Namibia’s Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) starting today, “following constructive discussions” with Paragon Aviation Services, the airport’s new ground handler. 

Paragon Aviation Services is the trading name for Paragon Investment Holding, a joint venture between the Namibian Airports Company (NAC) and Ethiopian Airlines. 

The “constructive discussions” apparently revolved around an arrangement under which Airlink personnel will help familiarise Paragon staff with Airlink’s cargo handling processes in the interim.   

This will ensure continuity and consistency in providing top-class reliable, on-time, safe and secure air freight services,” Airlink said in a statement today.  

Airlink, operating a combined seven round trips a day between Windhoek and Johannesburg and Cape Town, also tendered apologies to customers for the standoff, which had resulted in a pileup of Namibia-destined cargo, throughout its network and promised speedy clearing.  Airlink is growing fast with several codeshares, which means it has a growing focus on service delivery.

The carrier suspended cargo operations to Windhoek on August 23 after apparent concerns over the quality of Paragon’s services to its expectations. Paragon took over operations Menzies after a protracted legal contest in which the latter challenged the former’s selection by the Namibia Airports Company.  

“Airlink has been obliged to suspend its cargo operations at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport following the change in the airport’s ground handling and cargo service provider. Airlink apologizes to its customers for the inconvenience and disruption this temporary measure is causing to their businesses,” the carrier said in a statement on August 23.   

Back then, Airlink said while it was open to working with Paragon, it had some reservations. “The safety and security of its passengers, personnel, and aircraft are paramount.  We can only restore cargo operations when Paragon’s aviation security – including dangerous goods handling – and other cargo handling certifications, approvals, and protocols are in place.  If Airlink continues providing a cargo service at Windhoek without these, the integrity of its operations and international aviation safety and security will be compromised.”   

The carrier added that since August 19, it had seconded additional personnel from South Africa to assist Paragon with passenger processing following flight delays attributable to a shortage of ground handling equipment.  

If it was the most vocal, Airlink was by no means the only aggrieved party with the state of affairs at WDH. Operators at the airport said they had been left in the dark about the fees Paragon intended to charge for its services when it took over operations since service agreements had not been concluded with most airlines operating out of WDH.

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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