Air Namibia is seeking to acquire a more modern aircraft to replace its Boeing 747SP, a move which it considers vital to its cost-cutting drive to achieve profit.

The carrier says that the types under consideration include the Boeing 777 and 747-400, Airbus A340, or "even the McDonnell Douglas MD-11", but it is unclear when the new equipment will enter service. "We are still in a process of evaluation," says the airline.

A call for tenders has also been issued for a second aircraft to service the carrier's regional routes, which Air Namibia says will be similar in capacity and range to that of the Boeing 737-200 now operated.

Air Namibia operates from Windhoek and Johannesburg to Frankfurt and London, competing with Lufthansa. The airlines have been locked in a fierce battle since German negotiators allegedly forced a 58% capacity increase on the Frankfurt-Windhoek sector at bilateral negotiations in 1994 - this despite agreement that the allocation was already 40% over capacity.

There is evidence, however, of a thaw in this once frosty relationship. "We have been talking with Lufthansa since November [about a partnership]," says the airline.

Source: Flight International