More immigration officers deployed at HKIA

Windhoek-To address the technical issues regarding the newly launched technical upgrade, called Electronic Border Control Management System, government has come up with short interventions to address the situation at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA).

Since Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana launched the upgraded Electronic Border Control Management System at HKIA earlier this month, there have been persistent complaints from travellers over the long queues experienced.

Works and Transport Minister Alpheus! Naruseb said in the National Assembly on Thursday that the additional departure and arrival immigration booths installed were both operational and two immigration officers man each booth.

He said government will as of today deploy two more immigration officers to assist the existing five staff members at the airport. He said long-term solutions were being explored to address the needed upgrade of HKIA, so as to provide lasting solutions to the congestion currently experienced.

He said the upgraded infrastructure would be able to cater for more efficient operations, as the airport would be able to accommodate wider bodied aircraft and process more passengers.

He said queuing barriers would also be delivered in the coming three weeks and because of the said interventions, the processing speed of clearing passengers has improved.

He added that specialists in prefabricated structures were identified and the detailed cost projection and execution plan or concept was also provided.

There are several queues at the arrival immigration booth at HKIA, one for Namibian passport holders, one for SADC passport holders, as well as diplomatic passport holders, while there are only two counters for departure terminal.

The queues have lately become so long and slow that some travellers reportedly missed their flights, while others who were arriving in the country complained of having to stand in the sun, as the terminal is small to accommodate a large number of visitors.

The new system was originally developed and installed by local IT company Syntex Technologies. It was the first of the E-Border Control Management Systems Upgrade Project to be installed at all border posts to make identification of immigrants and Namibians simpler and faster.

!Naruseb maintained that Namibia recently experienced an influx of new airlines, such has Qatar airways, KLM Royal Dutch airline, Eurowings, Ethiopian airlines. This is an addition to the existing airlines, Air Namibia, TAAG Angolan airlines, South African airways, South African Airlink, British Comair, and Condor airline.

He said various bilateral air service agreements have been signed with Turkey, Kenya and United Arab Emirates, which will result in the commencement of additional flights to and from Windhoek, originating from the abovementioned countries.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia