Airnam’s A330s Still Use Hosea Kutako

AIR Namibia is still operating its A330 aircraft from Hosea Kutako International Airport, defying the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO’s) decision to downgrade the airport.

Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina gave Air Namibia an exemption to fly the Airbus A330 in and out of Hosea Kutako after the ICAO and the Directorate of Civil Aviation had downgraded the airport.

The downgrade forced Air Namibia flights – SW 285 and SW 286 – to be diverted to Lusaka, Zambia last week, from where the passengers had to be flown in smaller aircraft which can still safely land at Hosea Kutako.

Nghimtina granted Air Namibia an exemption last week but asked the airline to work closely with the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) whenever the flights take off or land.

The minister confirmed yesterday that Air Namibia was still flying its airbuses A330 via Hosea Kutako because of the exemption, which is part of the provision a minister is allowed to have on condition that the mistakes are rectified.

“Yes, we are flying. Why do you want us to fly from Lusaka?” Nghimtina asked, adding that the flying of the big planes is part of his exemption. “We got exempted while putting our house in order. We are not sleeping. We are working hard to put things in place.”

Air Namibia’s spokesperson Paul Nakawa also confirmed yesterday that the airbuses A330s are still flying in and out of the country through Hosea Kutako because they have not received any formal letter from ICAO or DCA informing them of the decision to disallow the A330s from using Hosea Kutako.

“We will, therefore, continue flights at the airport as normal,” Nakawa said. “We will continue flying normally until further notice.”

He could, however, not elaborate why they are risking passengers’ safety after the downgrade made because the fire and rescue services do not meet required standards. At the time of the downgrade, Nghimtina said he had no idea as to what happened when the second audit was done and that only one fire truck was operational.

“They tried to repair the trucks, but we could not do anything. As a result, there was only one option,” he said about two weeks ago.

Source : The Namibian