Airport downgrade a major threat

Not only the tourism sector, but the entire Namibian economy is at risk if the country's international airport loses its international status after a security audit next month.

19 October 2018 | Transport

Analysts believe that if Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is downgraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), it would lead to massive job losses, particularly in the tourism sector.

The other concern is that this could affect Namibia's competiveness as it moves to position itself as a logistics hub for southern Africa.

ICAO is to perform a safety and security audit of the airport in November. To prepare for the audit, the treasury recently released N$95 million to make eleventh-hour improvements at the airport.

Giving his take on developments, economist Klaus Schade says the tourism sector would be hard hit if Hosea Kutako loses its international airport status.

“The tourism sector is a labour-intensive sector that creates employment opportunities, often in very remote areas with no other opportunity to earn cash income,” he says.

A potential downgrading of HKIA would not only affect the hospitality sector, but all the other economic sectors that offer goods and services to tourists or to the tourism industry.

ICAO downgraded HKIA in 2014, forcing Air Namibia to land its Airbus 330 used on the Windhoek – Frankfurt route in Gaborone, Botswana.

Major airlines such as Qatar, KLM and Ethiopian Airlines have since started landing at the airport.

The potential downgrading would make these airlines reconsider using HKIA, Schade warns.

“While Air Namibia could make alternative arrangements and fly passengers to Gaborone where they are picked up by smaller planes, the other airlines will most likely stop flying to Windhoek until the airport is upgraded again.

“This is not only an immense loss of reputation, but an economic loss the tourism industry and wider economy will face during a time the economy is already under substantial pressure.”

Aviation expert Linden Birns, the MD of Plane Talking, says a downgrading of the airport would have far-reaching consequences for the economy.

“Given its vital and strategic function, any downgrade that curtails Hosea Kutako International Airport's operations would be detrimental to Namibia's entire economy,” Birns said. In the fourth National Development Plan, Namibia set out the ambitious goal of becoming a logistics hub for southern Africa.

The potential downgrading of the airport would curtail such plans, Birns points out.

“For the country to remain competitive and grow its increasingly diverse economy, passengers, as well as high-value imports and exports, must be able to move safely, securely and efficiently through this main international gateway,” he says.

Air Namibia has not expressed any worry though. When contacted for comment, the airline said it was positive that the situation would be managed responsibly and that it would have been informed in the event of a downgrading.

“We have no official notice on the possible downgrading of our airport. If that was the case we would have been one of the first to be informed, given that we are the major player in flights at HKIA.

“We are positive that HKIA will pass the security audit as there are positive interventions to this end,” Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa says.

OGONE TLHAGE

Similar News

 

'Technical glitches' force plane to turn back

10 hours ago | Transport

An Air Namibia Embraer ERJ 135 en route to Ondangwa from Windhoek had to turn around on Sunday evening and land at Eros Airport, from...

Air Namibia ordered to appoint MD

5 days ago - 11 January 2019 | Transport

Transport minister John Mutorwa has instructed the newly appointed Air Namibia board to finalise the recruitment and appointment of a substantive managing director.This follows years...

Botswana eyes terminal at Gobabis

1 week ago - 03 January 2019 | Transport

TransNamib and Botswana Railways have signed an agreement on the development of a container terminal at Gobabis. This will be Botswana's second terminal in...

Passengers blast Air Namibia

3 weeks ago - 21 December 2018 | Transport

ELLANIE SMIT Angry Air Namibia passengers have taken to social media to expose flight delays of more than nine hours and shabby treatment by cabin...

'Drunk' crew delays flights by 6 hours

3 weeks ago - 20 December 2018 | Transport

Flight delays of several hours were experienced by Air Namibia on Monday because of flight crew who had looked a bit too deep into the...

New crisis for tourism

1 month - 30 November 2018 | Transport

Although Namibia has passed a ten-day International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) security audit, a new tourism and aviation crisis looms over new regulations that will...

Aviation security audit under way

1 month - 20 November 2018 | Transport

A four-member team from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) was yesterday urged to not shy away from identifying gaps in Namibia's aviation security.Works and...

ICAO security audit in full swing

1 month - 19 November 2018 | Transport

ELLANIE SMIT The government and relevant stakeholders in the aviation industry will today be briefed on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) security audit that...

New demand for fares hikes

2 months ago - 14 November 2018 | Transport

A little more than two months after taxi prices were hiked by 20% the Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) has asked for a further...

N$245 million rescue plan

2 months ago - 08 November 2018 | Transport

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) has unveiled a N$245 million rescue plan for Hosea Kutako International Airport, with the revamp expected to be finalised by...

Latest News

Higher food, fuel prices expected

10 hours ago | Economics

Consumers should brace themselves for even more expensive food and fuel this year. Although motorists received a slight reprieve in fuel prices in December,...

'Technical glitches' force plane to...

10 hours ago | Transport

An Air Namibia Embraer ERJ 135 en route to Ondangwa from Windhoek had to turn around on Sunday evening and land at Eros Airport, from...

When legends die paupers

10 hours ago | Columns

The death on Sunday of Bafana Bafana legend Phil Masinga and the outpouring of grief around his passing, especially in Namibia, has once again brought...

SA regulator weighs Eskom price...

10 hours ago | Economics

NAMPA/ANAAs the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on Monday began public hearings on Eskom's tariff increase application, pressure group SAFCEI suggested that the...

Cross-border buses to Zim suspend...

10 hours ago | Economics

Nampa/ANAThe International Cross-Border Traders Association (ICTA) on Monday said it had withdrawn all buses travelling to different parts of Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries as protests...

Nambundunga inspired us - Shalli

10 hours ago | People

Former Namibian Defence Force (NDF) chief Martin Shalli says his successor, the late Peter Nambundunga, played a significant role during the liberation struggle as a...

SADC urged to speak with...

10 hours ago | International

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been urged to speak with one voice on the current crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).This...

China and Canada in 'hostage...

10 hours ago | Economics

NAMPA/AFP A Chinese court's decision to impose the death penalty on a...

Ghana's biggest oilfield yet discovered...

10 hours ago | Economics

NAMPA/ANANorwegian oil exploration company Aker Energy has announced the discovery of what appears to be the biggest oil find in the Ghana's history to date...

Load More