The NAC was given 15 days by the ICAO to rectify unserviceable fire equipment and train staff. The new fire equipment has a water level of 37 400 litres, foam at 4 500 litres and dry chemical powder of 1 000 kilograms. El Kallawi, who pointed out that no employee will be laid off, quoted George Bernard Shaw, saying that success does not lie in never making mistakes but in never repeating the same mistake twice.

Hosea Kutako Regraded to Category 9

HOSEA Kutako International Airport has been regraded to category nine, allowing airbus A330s to take off and land at the airport.

The airport was downgraded to category five from nine by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) after an audit carried out from 21 to 22 July this year. This meant that airbus A330s were not allowed to take off or land until the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) had met the requirements. The NAC was given 15 days.

Announcing the regrading at a press briefing yesterday, NAC acting chief executive officer Tamar El Kallawi said the Directorate of Civil Aviation lifted the Notice to Airman (NOTAM) on Saturday, making it unnecessary for the International Civil Aviation Organisation to carry out another evaluation of the rescue and fire fighting services. He said the airport’s rescue and fire fighting services have been upgraded after two additional fire trucks were brought in, bringing the number of fire trucks at the airport to five.

Nine more fire trucks, El Kallawi said, would be delivered soon, so that the airport would be graded even higher than category nine.

“We have 10 firemen transferred from smaller airports to Hosea Kutako to meet the ICAO requirements. All the firemen will be working 12-hour shifts to intensify shift strength and as a safety precaution,” said El Kallawi.

The Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina, who was present at the press briefing, said he was very happy that the airport has been restored to its prior position. The miniser had given the Airline special permission to continue its operations at the airport, defying ICAO standards to downgrade the airport. The Namibian last week reported that the A330 was still operating from the airport.

“At the time of the audit, only one truck was functional but now we have even more trucks. The standard requires us to have three but we have five. We are more than a category nine,” said Nghimtina.

When asked why the problem was not picked up earlier and rectified before the audit, Nghimtina said in life one should be allowed to make mistakes and thus learn.

“It was a huge inconvenience that we couldn’t land in our own country. We don’t want to go back to that low level again,” said Nghimtina. NAC board chairperson Ndeuhala Katonyala thanked the minister for his unwavering support and the management for working hand in hand to ensure that the 15-day deadline would be met.

Olavi Hamwele, NAC human resource manager, said there was nothing wrong with the transfers of firemen from smaller airports.

“Everything was done within the Labour Law,” said Hamwele.

There was also realignment where some managers were transferred while others had their positions abolished. Speaking about this, El Kallawi repeated that none would lose their jobs.

El-Kallawi also said the realignment is in accordance with the company’s three-year strategic plan that will see certain changes which are vital to the company’s ability to achieve its set goals.

Some of those affected by the realigment are procurement manager, Gerson Katjangua general manager operations, Mwangi wa Kamau and Titus Shuungula, who is the senior main quality assurance officer. The head corporate communications officer, Mia Davids, was demoted to corporate communications officer.

“Structure follows strategy, hence the need to realign our organisational structure. I will like to make it clear that no employees will be laid off during this process as reported in the media. A skills audit has been conducted and employees will be placed accordingly,” said El Kallawi.

Source : The Namibian