Turkish Airlines and Air Namibia have announced a codeshare agreement (effective 01 March 2017) on a limited number of routes with hopes of further collaboration.
Air Namibia has only one longhaul international route — to its former colonial overlord in Frankfurt, Germany. The A330 Business Class product is modern, with Aura Lite seats from Zodiac Aerospace, the same seats Turkish Airlines uses in its 777-300 fleet.
Prompted by Turkey’s lack of presence in Windhoek and Air Nambia’s desire for longhaul expansion, initial codesharing will take place on the following four flights:
- Windhoek⇄Johannesburg (operated by Air Namibia)
- Windhoek⇄Frankfurt (Air Namibia)
- Istanbul⇄Johannesburg (Turkish)
- Istanbul⇄Frankfurt (Turkish)
In its press release, Air Namibia states that it plans future non-stop service to Istanbul. When that flight begins, expanded codesharing on feeder flights to/from Istanbul and Windhoek are planned.
The signing ceremony took place in Istanbul on 07 February 2017. Commenting on the agreement, Turkish Airlines’ Deputy Chairman and CEO, Mr. Bilâl Ekşi stated:
We are pleased to sign this codeshare agreement with Air Namibia and aim to improve our partnership to maximize the travel opportunities offered our passengers through our flight networks. Air Namibia continues its expansion successfully, and we believe that this partnership between Turkish Airlines and Air Namibia will bring benefit to both carriers, not only from a commercial perspective, but also in cultural interactions between Turkey and Namibia while promoting business travel between two countries.
Will Air Namibia Join Star Alliance?
In talking codeshares with unaffiliated carriers, the question of alliance membership will no doubt come up. Although Star Alliance already has three carriers based in Africa (EgyptAir, South African Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines), Air Namibia’s footprint is so small that the overlap would be limited. Still, the carrier competes with South African on a number of its flights to South Africa. Thus, I’d say it is unlikely at this point that we will see Air Namibia joining Star Alliance no matter how much its relationship with Turkish blossoms. I do think we will likely see reciprocal mileage earning and the chance to redeem for Air Namibia flights using Turkish Miles & Smiles.
Although only four routes, the codeshare agreement between Turkish and Air Namibia marks the beginning of what could be a deeper relationship. With Air Namibia stating its intentions to begin service between Windhoek and Istanbul, the closer relationship is logical and may help the Namibian flag carrier break out of its rut.