HKIA downgrade will affect tourism industry: Fenata

WINDHOEK: A local tourism federation has called on Government to urgently intervene in the Hosea Kutako International Airport saga, saying the current situation is causing untold damage to the country’s reputation.

The Federation of Namibia Tourism Association (Fenata) said in a media statement issued on Thursday it is disappointed at yet another announcement that Namibia’s only international airport has again been downgraded.

As a result of the downgrade, Air Namibia can no longer operate its A330-200 fleet in or out of the Hosea Kutako International Airport until such time as the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) has rectified the shortcomings to the satisfaction of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The ICAO downgraded the airport following an audit on the NAC’s facilities at the airport recently.

The ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) and codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

Fenata chairperson Rudie Putter said the country’s tourism industry will be negatively impacted by this development.

“Just as the Namibian tourism industry starts its high season, and with the industry finally enjoying some degree of upswing after two difficult years, it is all the more disheartening to see all the hard work being crushed by the inefficiencies of some individuals,” he stressed.

He said Air Namibia’s connection between Windhoek and Frankfurt is the most important lifeline of the country’s international tourism market.