NAC promises to rectify operational issues

WINDHOEK: The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) is busy rectifying all operational issues as identified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati said on Thursday.

This follows the downgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport from a Category Nine to a Category Five airport.

The issues identified involve higher rescue and fire-fighting services.

Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, Kamati said the NAC remains confident that it will meet deadlines set by ICAO for the company to address issues identified as being critical by the organisation.

The NAC has been given until 08 August this year to rectify the issues.

“NAC remains committed to managing and developing safe and secure airports with due consideration to the interest of our stakeholders. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this situation, but airport safety remains our priority,” he said.

He said the company is also confident that it can overcome what he described as this “unfortunate chapter”.

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 NAC has rectified the shortcomings to the satisfaction of the ICAO.

Air Namibia announced in a statement on Wednesday that this reinforcement by ICAO will negatively affect all large aircraft operated at the airport owned, operated and managed by the NAC.

ICAO last week downgraded the airport following an audit of the NAC facilities at the airport situated about 40 kilometres east of Windhoek.

In response to the downgrade, Air Namibia applied to be granted exemption in order to continue operations of its airbus A330 fleet, with the exemption granted on 24 July this year.

However, Air Namibia said a subsequent review by the ICAO has re-enforced the downgrade, and has revoked any exemptions that might have been granted.

To minimise the impact of the inconvenience caused to passengers, Air Namibia has in the meantime diverted its flights.

Flight SW 286 from Frankfurt to Windhoek on Thursday was diverted to Lusaka, and passengers would be flown to Windhoek from there on two A319-100s.

“We will continue to operate in this manner until such time as the NAC has fulfilled the requirements,” the statement indicated.