Namibia’s biggest airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, does not have CCTV cameras, a major security lapse, Namibia Airports Company (NAC) Chairman, Leake Hangala, told journalists on Wednesday.
He said the installation of CCTV cameras was among the many security lapses that needed to be fixed at the airport.
“There was never CCTV [cameras],” he said. “Installation of CCTV [cameras] and an intrusion detection system at the Hosea Kutako International Airport has already commenced.”
This comes as the NAC Acting CEO, Lot Haifidi, has said the airports operator was prepared for the upcoming audits by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Namibia is expected to face a security audit from 18 to 28 November as well as a bigger security audit in 2020.
Haifidi said airports operated by NAC scored 65 percent in a recent mock audit, which he said was not bad considering that the global average is 72 percent.
“We are just seven points below the global average,” he said.
Haifidi also disclosed that the Namibia Ports Authority had given the airports company 25 scanners to help speed up the checking process at airports in the country.
Hangala said more airlines are interested in flying to Namibia hence the need to improve services especially at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek.
Temporary renovation works at the airport are expected to start soon and to be completed in March next year.
The upgrade will cost N$245 million, with N$95 million coming from the NAC’s own coffers while government will provide the rest.
ICAO has introduced new standards under amendment 16 Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which will become applicable on 16 November, making Namibia the first country to be audited against these new standards.
Hangala said there is no link between the upcoming ICAO Security Audit and the downgrade of airports.
“Downgrade can only emanate from a safety audit and going forward, our efforts will be dedicated to consolidating and eliminating areas of concern,” he said.
“The NAC takes note of the frustrations and anger from stakeholders in this regard, especially our tourist and business travellers. We would like to apologise to all and sundry for any inconvenience and suffering caused.
“We accept that the current state of affairs is making it difficult for the largest airport to comply with all Standards and Recommended Practices of ICAO.”
Kerry McNamara Architects have been appointed as the leading architect consultant to work on the design on the project for the temporary upgrade.
The current terminal building at Hosea Kutako was constructed in 1985 to handle 250,000 passengers per year. The airport now handles more than one million passengers per annum.
Meanwhile, Hangala said the board will finalise the appointment of a CEO before the end of the year.
Former CEO, Tamer El-Kallawi, resigned last year following his suspension on fraud charges.