Discover Airlines: 'fuel And Co2 Compensation Drive Ticket Rates'

27 Jun 2024

Why have rates for flights to Namibia risen so much recently? How lucrative is the only non-stop connection from Europe to Namibia? And can we expect more direct flights to Namibia?

These and other questions were answered by the CEO of Discover Airlines, Bernd Bauer, at an information breakfast with representatives of Namibian media in Windhoek. Together with three colleagues from the airline's management, he had attended the AviaDev Africa airline industry conference, which took place in Namibia's capital.

Discover Managing Director Bernd Bauer talking to media representatives at an information breakfast in Windhoek. 
Photo: Sven Eric Stender


"We do not 'milk' the Frankfurt - Windhoek route," emphasised Bauer in his answer to's question about the high ticket prices. According to Discover Airlines' annual overview of rates, a return flight in economy class costs between EUR 650 and EUR 1,070. Discover is the only airline that offers a non-stop flight from Europe to Namibia. The majority of Namibia holidaymakers come from Europe. The DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) alone account for around 37 per cent.

The main factors are increased costs for fuel and CO2 compensation, says Bauer. "The prices for compensation for CO2 emissions have tripled in recent years." According to the (in German), the price for a tonne of CO2 was around 20 euros for a long time and had risen to around 80 euros by the end of 2023. European airlines have been obliged to compensate since 2012.

Night flights harbour hidden costs

Namibia's travel industry has long been concerned about Discover's high flight rates. Yes, the industry is still grateful that the German holiday airline has been filling the gap left by the liquidated Air Namibia since August 2021. Nevertheless, industry representatives point to the monopoly on non-stop flights to Namibia. They ask why Ethiopean Airlines with the stopover in Abbis Ababa is significantly cheaper. For the connection of Condor and Airlink via Johannesburg you also pay less.

On the other hand, Discover Airlines' night flights, arriving in Windhoek in the morning and returning to Frankfurt in the evening, harbour a hidden cost factor. Instead of taking off immediately after refuelling, cleaning, loading and boarding, the aircraft has to wait for its departure until the evening. Bernd Bauer: "Planes don't earn any money while they are on the ground."

This is another reason why Discover flies from Windhoek to Vic Falls and back three times a week during the day. In April 2022, the airline was granted the respective fifth freedom of movement. This is the right to transport passengers or freight between two countries outside an airline's home country.

"By the way, we will soon lose our monopoly on direct flights," the Discover boss added in conclusion. Bauer did not want to reveal which airline would start offering flights to Namibia. He also evaded the question of whether this would involve non-stop flights, as is the case with Discover.

However, Bauer hinted with a smile that an announcement from the airline in question can be expected within the next few weeks. Turkish Airlines has been under discussion for some time. However, it would offer direct flights to Namibia with a stopover in Istanbul, similar to Ethiopean via Addis.

Flights to Namibia well booked

A330-300 of Discover Airlines, which is also used on the Frankfurt - Windhoek route. 
Photo: Discover Airlines


Founded in 2021 in the midst of the corona crisis under the most unfavourable circumstances imaginable, Discover Airlines has surprisingly quickly established itself in the segment of holiday airlines. The destination Namibia has contributed greatly to this. The Frankfurt - Windhoek route is one of Discover Airlines' most successful routes.

Bauer impressively summarises the route's track record from August 2021 to May 2024 on one slide of his presentation: "3 years of successful operation. Constant growth from 3 to 5 to 10 flights a week. Around 600,000 passengers. [On average] 5,000 to 6,000 passengers per week. About 2,300 flights."

According to the Discover CEO, the loading rate of Namibia flights is around 80 percent. To cover the costs, 70 to 75 per cent is needed. Cargo accounts for less than ten per cent of income.

Managing Director Bauer emphasised the good partnership with the travel industry in Germany and Namibia. He also stressed his airline's contribution to destination marketing. "We have organised 25 FamTrips with a total of 400 representatives from travel agencies and tour operators." FamTrips are taster trips on which travel agents experience the respective destination for themselves. This enables them to better advise and inspire their customers.

More Namibia flights planned

As announced weeks ago, Discover Airlines also plans to fly to Namibia from Munich from April 2025 (see report on However, it will remain at a total of ten flights per week: three from Munich and seven from Frankfurt. "This is just a shift of flights for now," admits Bauer. "But in the medium term, we are thinking about further expanding the connections to Namibia."

One of the options under discussion are flights from Zurich to Windhoek. According to Bauer, the Swiss airline Edelweiss is planning to include Namibia in its flight schedule from 2026. Edelweiss is also part of the Lufthansa Group. It is therefore a sister of Discover - and has the same CEO: Bernd Bauer.

Sven-Eric Stender

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