Air Namibia should be liquidated, the Namibian president has declared following an address to the country, a suggestion which has met objection from unions.

President Hage Geingob was answering questions in the parliament building in Windhoek after delivering his state-of-the-nation speech on 4 June.

The loss-making airline had not been mentioned in the speech, but Geingob was questioned about its situation afterwards.

“Yes, Air Namibia must be liquidated,” he responded. “We have a very serious problem with Air Namibia.”

Geingob mentioned that the airline has been “bailed out, bailed out”, but indicated that recommended measures to cut routes – such as the key Frankfurt service – would not be welcomed.

“But it must be restructured,” he says. “If liquidation is the thing, we must do that.

“It is not making any profits. Just being bailed out, bailed out. No, we must do something about it.”

There are no immediate indications that the government has since taken any steps. Air Namibia, like many operators, is dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis which has disrupted its operations.

But the Namibia Transport & Allied Workers Union insists a move to close the airline is “not a wise one at the moment”.

While it states that it “understands the frustration” expressed by the president, it claims the airline is “not a burden to the state coffers” and contributes “significantly” to the Namibian GDP.

Air Namibia operates a small fleet including Airbus A330s and A319s, plus Embraer regional jets.