Airlines Seek Hosea Kutako Landing Permission

THE Ministry of Works and Transport has urged Air Namibia to report to the Directorate of Civil Aviation on a daily basis to ensure that safety rules regarding the A330-200 aircraft are complied with.

In a letter to Air Namibia board chairperson Harald Schmidt, transport minister Erkki Nghimtina said the airline has been exempted from the rescue and fire fighting services (RFFS) requirements as applicable to the operation of Airbus A330.

Nghimtina’s letter was in response to Air Namibia’s application for exemption after the downgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) last week from category eight to five.

The downgrade resulted in the shutdown of the airport to airbuses and resulted in Air Namibia flights being diverted to Gaborone in Botswana from where the passengers were flown to Windhoek in smaller planes.

Nghimtina said exemption “applies only to Airbus A330 aircraft operating to and from Hosea Kutako International Airport during the period of reduced RFFS standards” and “during the period when the RFFS standard is declared to be category five or better”.

He said for the exemption to be in effect, Air Namibia has to comply with conditions such as verifying the safety and emergency training records of all crew members operating A330s verifying the serviceability of all rescue and fire-fighting equipment prior to each arrival and departure.

Nghimtina pointed out that the positioning of such equipment shall be as for a pre-notified emergency landing.

“For departing aircraft, the positioning of such equipment shall be appropriate to an emergency involving a rejected take-off,” he said.

The exemption comes as the Namibia Airports Company suspended rescue and fire fighting officials – Jerome Mouton and Raymond Isaak – as well as several other managers.

Although NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati declined to reveal the managers’ names, he admitted that those suspended were on full pay.

Kamati also said Air Namibia took a risk assessment to determine the safe operations of their aircraft, including the A330 and that they were satisfied with the assessment, hence the authorisation to continue operations.

“South African Airways on Friday carried out their risk assessment too and after being satisfied, they are in the process of requesting approval as well,” said Kamati.

Source : The Namibian