Aviation safety in shambles

11 October 2018 | Transport

International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO officials have made it clear that as things stand, the Namibian aviation industry in general, and not just Hosea Kutako International Airport, fails to meet international safety standards.

They say a list of concerns was repeatedly submitted, but over the years there has been no progress or action from the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and government agencies such as immigration control and the police, who are managing the passenger screening at the airport.

An emergency cabinet meeting was called on Tuesday to discuss the matter and what action needs to be taken. Should Namibia fail to meet international aviation safety standards it would be detrimental to the country, and particularly the tourism industry, as its airspace would be regarded as unsafe.

This was revealed during an urgent high-level meeting organised by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata) after serious concerns were raised that Hosea Kutako may fail an international security audit. Tuesday's meeting was attended by representatives of the tourism industry, government officials and ICAO experts. ICAO will conduct a security audit at Hosea Kutako in November.

According to a statement issued by the chairman of Fenata, Bernd Schneider, and co-signed by AOPA, the dire situation Namibia finds itself in can be blamed on the NAC's lack of action over the years.

Schneider said even though all efforts were made to ensure the participation of the NCA and Air Namibia at the meeting, neither was present.

Schneider explained that the ICAO officials visited Namibia to ensure that the country complies with international aviation safety and security standards.

“Failure to comply with these standards will result in the Namibian airspace being deemed unsafe for international travel. The direct and immediate consequence of such a finding is that international airlines such as Qatar airways or KLM will no longer fly to Namibia and at the same time the national airline in all likelihood will be prohibited to fly to international destinations,” the statement reads.

According to Schneider ICAO officials made it clear at the meeting that Namibia in general, and not only the airport, would fail the required safety standards.

Many of the existing shortcomings were highlighted during the last audit three years ago, when Hosea Kutako Airport was downgraded because of concerns about its firefighting capacity.

Schneider says many of the concerns have not been addressed since then, even though clear guidelines were given on how to ensure compliance with international aviation safety standards and regulations.

“The complete failure to address the concerns raised and the total inaction, especially from the NAC, has prompted ICAO officials to set a deadline as to when clear progress has to be demonstrated.” According to Schneider failure to meet this deadline, which is set for the end of November, would result in a non-compliance report from ICAO officials.

“This will have catastrophic and far-reaching consequences not only for the tourism industry, but for the entire Namibian economy. Non-compliance will also have the effect that all airports in Namibia will be affected, not only Hosea Kutako International Airport.”

Schneider says the ICAO officials made it clear that aviation safety should not be a once-off effort to pass an upcoming audit, but needs to be continuous.

On the positive side, the ICAO officials mentioned that many of the concerns raised can be easily rectified.

According to him the deadline implies that clear and visible progress must be made to ensure aviation safety in the long term. He says many of the shortcomings cannot be fixed within a couple of weeks, but it would be seen as a clear sign of commitment to aviation safety if some action was taken before the deadline.

“This is something that has not happened in the last few years,” he points out.

Schneider says upon receiving the news of the possibly disastrous outcome of the upcoming safety audit, Fenata last week made the government aware of the looming crisis.

This resulted in immediate action, with the cabinet discussing the matter at an emergency meeting on Tuesday.

“We call on the NAC to immediately and without delay address the well-documented concerns and recommendations by the ICAO experts and to ensure that Namibia remains accessible to and from international destinations,” Schneider says.

He says the Namibian tourism sector, represented by Fenata and AOPA, will work closely with the government to avert this looming crisis.

“We will continue to act as watchdogs and will act immediately and decisively to ensure that Namibians as well as any visitors to Namibia can rely on the fact that Namibia adheres to and complies with general safety and security standards at the highest level and remains a generally safe destination.”

The NAC is holding an airport security exercise today at Hosea Kutako. This exercise will involve various agencies such as the airlines, the police and several emergency services.


Similar News


Air Namibia board promises major changes

1 week ago - 12 April 2019 | Transport

The newly appointed Air Namibia board says it realises that “robust” short-and long-term changes are needed to turn around the troubled airline. After recent...

Two NAC execs off the hook

1 month - 15 March 2019 | Transport

Two executive managers at the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) appear to have been vindicated following the conclusion of disciplinary processes into alleged corruptive practices at...

World turns on Boeing

1 month - 14 March 2019 | Transport

Namibia has joined the growing list of countries that have banned Boeing's B737 MAX 8 aircraft from landing at their airports following a crash in...

TransNamib property worth N$2.4 billion

1 month - 13 March 2019 | Transport

TransNamib says it is has not decided whether any of its assets will be sold. Cabinet last year approved a request by the company to...

Taxi drivers want Geingob

1 month - 12 March 2019 | Transport

The Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) has urged President Hage Geingob to address taxi drivers personally in order to restore their faith in the...

Airline in talks over N$350m debt

1 month - 12 March 2019 | Transport

Air Namibia says it is negotiating with Belgian aviation firm Challenge Air SA over the possible payment of over N$350 million for an aircraft it...

Lengthy suspensions discouraged

1 month - 11 March 2019 | Transport

The lengthy suspension of four staff members at the Namibia Airports Company has been criticised by transport minister John Mutorwa.When he announced the appointment of...

No decision on Chinese financing

1 month - 11 March 2019 | Transport

No decision has been made on who will finance the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) project, says transport minister John Mutorwa. This contradicts earlier media...

Air Namibia unable to escape N$350m storm

1 month - 08 March 2019 | Transport

Air Namibia's attempts to directly engage Challenge Air SA over a N$350 million debt have suffered another setback, as attempts by their Belgian lawyer to...

Major developments in logistics

1 month - 08 March 2019 | Transport

Although Namibia's logistics sector grew by 16.1% between 2007 and 2017, major developments are needed if the country is to become a logistics hub for...

Latest News

Warning of dire food shortages

12 hours ago | Disasters

The latest Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report has predicted massive reductions for all crop-producing areas in the expected harvest season, including cereal...

Solving your challenges with remuneration

12 hours ago | Business

We live in an environment of continued cost-constraints, skills shortage and labour mobility. At the same time, there is pressure to improve productivity, and improve...

ACC: Budget not enough to...

12 hours ago | Economics

CATHERINE SASMAN The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says the N$61.6 million budget proposed for its operations is woefully inadequate.The...

Do good for others

12 hours ago | Opinion

Human rights are needed to protect and preserve every individual's humanity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear in highlighting the basic rights and...

Violent Easter weekend

12 hours ago | Crime

The four-day Easter weekend was marred by a spate of violent crimes including a dozen reported sexual assaults and armed robberies, in addition to a...

Watch your mouth

12 hours ago | Politics

Only half of Namibians believe that they have the right of freedom of association, says an Afrobarometer policy paper titled 'Are Africans' freedoms slipping away?'...

E-tax rollout postponed again

12 hours ago | Economics

The finance ministry introduced a new electronic income-tax filing system in January, but deadlines are repeatedly being postponed.The date when the new system must become...

Managing fall armyworm

12 hours ago | Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has formulated a framework for partnerships for the sustainable management of fall armyworm in Africa which will focus on...

Meat Board sub-committees meet

12 hours ago | Agriculture

The Livestock Producers' Organisation (LPO) is represented on various sub-committees of the Meat Board and these committees met to discuss issues affecting the sector. The...

Load More