HKIA upgrades start, finally

17 September 2019 | Transport

The handling capacity of Hosea Kutako International Airport will be doubled by a N$250 million project starting next week to eliminate congestion at Namibia's flagship airport.

By doubling its capacity, the airport is expected to accommodate increased passenger movements until 2030.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the airport's Congestion Alleviation Project, the chairperson of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Dr Leake Hangala, announced that the contractor for the project is a fully Namibian company, Nexus Building Contractors.

Hangala said the government allocated N$155 million for the project through the works ministry, while the NAC committed N$95 million from its coffers. According to Hangala the work will commence next Monday and is expected to be completed by the end of September 2020.

Hosea Kutako has experienced a remarkable growth in passenger movements since 2016 because of the introduction of international airlines and routes.

By last year passenger movements at the airport had reached one million. Hangala said this is expected to further increase.

“The accelerated growth necessitated the urgent need for the expansion of Namibia's flagship international airport to ensure that the safety and security of the passengers is not compromised.”

The project includes increasing the number of check-in counters to 18, with five additional self-service check-in kiosks, in comparison to the current 14 check-in counters.

The security screening checkpoints will be expanded from three to five, while the immigration counters in the departure hall will be increased from three to seven, each of which will accommodate two immigration officials.

Hangala said the departure hall will be expanded to accommodate the increased passenger movements and provide commercial facilities and amenities for the convenience of travellers.

“A new arrival hall as an extension to the existing terminal will also be constructed as part of the project to accommodate a total number of 17 immigration counters compared to the current eight immigration counters.” Each counter will accommodate two immigration officials at a time.

The luggage collection area will be expanded and fitted with three modern carousels that can handle three wide-bodied aircraft concurrently. Currently only two carousels at the airport can accommodate one wide-bodied aircraft at a time.

Hangala said the project would be done in phases to minimise the disruption of operations.

He added that the old terminal building, or Terminal One, which is currently used for VIP arrivals and departures, will also form part of the work to be done to segregate domestic and international passenger movements. A VIP section will be reintegrated in the redesign of Terminal One.

“The expansion will culminate in the modernisation and atomisation of airport facilities that will significantly provide convenience, comfort and enhanced traveling experience,” he said.

He stressed that fast and friendly service delivery remains important.

Deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah also stressed the importance of service delivery for Namibia. She was speaking in her capacity as the chairperson of the committee created by the cabinet to oversee the project.

“What this committee is doing is trying to create more space within the current structure. Within the grand idea we still want a bigger and better airport. That is still ongoing and being discussed within relevant ministries. But we are now dealing with the emergency issues,” she said.

The CEO of the NAC, Bisey /Uirab, said since he joined the company about four months ago his team has been preoccupied with ensuring that they give the utmost urgency to this project.

/Uirab said it is the expectation that once this project is completed, NAC employees and all other service providers at this airport would make concerted efforts to up their service delivery to travellers.

According to /Uirab the NAC has been going through challenging moments both in terms of its service delivery and its governance practices.

“We are currently busy transforming the organisation to ensure that these challenges are addressed and that we enhance our safety and security standards in line with the national and international requirements.”

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