We have a plan - NAC

12 October 2018 Author  

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) says it has a plan which will avert a possible downgrade of its flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International.The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) says it has a plan which will avert a possible downgrade of its flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International.

This comes amid fears from the tourism industry, pilots union and other sectors that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) could downgrade the country’s biggest airport when it carries out its security audit in November.
NAC Acting CEO, Lot Haifidi, told a government inter-ministerial committee led by Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah which toured the airport as part of a familiarization tour on Thursday, that the company has come up with both short and long-term measures that will address security concerns raised by ICAO.
“We have a plan already, which is just awaiting implementation,” he said.
Haifidi, however, said the implementation of the plan, which will cost close to N$250 million, was being frustrated by delays from the Central Procurement Board, which is still to pronounce itself on the proposal submitted by the company.
“We submitted our proposal on the 7th of August 2017 and we have no feedback yet. The delays are really affecting our ability to implement our plans. 
“We have received some exemptions from the Ministry of Finance, but these are partial and only affecting how long the tender can be advertised and that’s all,” he said.
“The way things are now, no improvements will be done in six months, but if we get the exemptions, we will start immediately.”
The NAC has already set aside N$70 million of its own funds for the various structural changes to be made at Hosea Kutako as part of its measures to address security and congestion at the airport.
“The NAC has N$70 million available for use towards the project. We will realign funding to other projects such as the Eros runway and the Tsumeb Airport to fund the alterations,” he said, adding that the company has already engaged a contractor to carry out the short-term alterations, and the project should be done in two weeks.
“We can’t just watch and wait, that’s why we have proceeded to appoint a contractor. They have assured us that work will be completed in two weeks and they have agreed to work up to 4 am,” Haifidi said.
“The existing laws also provide a challenge for speedy implementation of projects and there is need for a relook.”
Among the proposed plans by the airports operator is the reconfiguration of the departure security area of the airport, which will be expanded, creating more room plus an additional scanner.
The plan will see the relocation of the duty-free shop plus the stationing of more Nampol officers.
On the tarmac, the NAC according to its proposal, will start making use of buses for passengers boarding and disembarking from planes, while the use of the old VIP terminal which is currently used for storage by Air Namibia, could be turned into an arrival area, separating departing and arriving passengers. 
“We have the buses and they are ready to come into use,” Haifidi said.
The NAC’s plan to use human shields to separate arriving and departing passengers was shot down amid concerns it was already failing.
“It provides a health risk for those working on the ground because of jet blast,” Namibia Civil Aviation Authority Executive Director, Angelina Simana, said.
Meanwhile, Works and Transport Minister, John Mutorwa, has made changes to the NAC board by appointing a new chairperson, Dr Leake Hangala, as government ups its efforts to avert the possible downgrade of the country’s biggest airport.   
Hangala replaces Rodgers Kauta who resigned in August, having served as the board's chairperson since September 2016.
He will be deputised by Advocate Irene Visser.
National Housing Enterprise Accountant, Beverley Gawanas-Vugs, who served as NAC board deputy chairperson, has been axed, according to changes announced by Mutorwa.
The terms of the new appointed board members starts on 11 October and ends on 1 August next year.

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