Suspensions, lack of CEO and resignations shot NAC in the leg- Hangala
Namibia Airports Company chairperson, Leake Hangala has lamented that instabilities at the entity have been caused by the absence of a substantive chief executive officer, continuous suspension of senior executives as well as resignations in the board.
At yesterday’s press briefing, Hangala showed commitment to patch up some gaps at the Hosea Kutako International Airport ahead of a critical airport evaluation.
Fears are rife that it faces a possible downgrade.
An audit by the Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in line with its newly introduced standards is also coming on November the 18th this year.
The chairperson said even ahead of this exercise they had managed to identify and close some gaps and areas of improvement which have to do with matters of security.
Actions taken so far are: improvement of emergency preparedness, reshaping of main passengers’ screening point, additional screening machines and increased human capacity to optimise service delivery.
“As from tomorrow (Thursday) we will introduce and operationalize the apron buses that were purchased for improved passenger facilitation. We have reduced retail space to increase screening space in the departure hall by, among others, installing an additional scanner; immigration counters and create more queuing space for passengers,” said Hangala.
He said they were working together with the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority and relevant stakeholders in identifying more areas of improvement with corrective actions to be implemented at the airport level.
The chairperson emphasised that there is no link between the upcoming ICAO security audit and the downgrade of the airport.
He said a downgrade can only emanate from a safety audit and going forward, efforts will be dedicated to consolidating and eliminating areas of concern.
“It is also important to highlight that, as far as the NAC is concerned, the upcoming ICAO audit is not an end in itself just for the purpose of passing it, but a journey or process to implement a sustainable healthy safety, security and facilitation system at HKIA at all times,” he added.
He also apologised for the frustration and anger that has been caused by congestion at the airport whose 33-year-old terminal building initially meant to handle only 250 000 passengers every year.
Presently, the airport is grappling with a million passengers which have come due to what Hangala said was the, “popularity of Namibia as a tourist and business destination” which is continues to rise.
“We accept that the current state of affairs is making it difficult for the country's largest airport to comply with all Standards and Recommended Practices (SAPRs) of ICAO,” he said.
He also confirmed that upgrades at the airport will a minimal effect on the current airport operations, which will continue as usual.
“The old terminal, known as Terminal One, currently only used for VIP movements, will also form part of the work to be done so as to have a dedicated international departure and arrival Terminal as well as a Domestic departure and arrival Terminal. This will go a long way to make HKIA one of the advanced airports in our Region,” he said.
He thus pleaded for for calm and patience during the transitional period, to allow for the procurement processes for these works to be to done as soon as possible.
He also took time to announce that NAC will finalise the appointment of a substantive CEO before the end of 2018.