NAMIBIA’S MAIN AIRPORT LOOKING AT GREATER PASSENGER NUMBERS DESPITE COLLAPSE OF AIR NAMIBIA
Courtesy of VoyagesAfriq’s Kojo Bentum-Williams
(Posted 20th May 2021)
The Hosea Kutako International Airport, Namibia’s main international airport is looking to serve more passengers after renovation works which are ongoing are done. The airport is expected to cater to about 1.8 to 2 million passengers each year after its refurbishment.
The refurbishment of the airport which commenced towards the end of 2019 is said to be due in July 2021. This is according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Airport Company, Mr. Bisey Uirab, in an interview with VoyagesAfriq.
He said that about three years ago, the airport found itself in series of congestion inconveniences to both international and domestic travelers which was one of the reasons that necessitated its expansion. He added that International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) security audit in Namibia had also detected some shortcomings and non-compliance to standards at the airport.
“One of the observations by ICAO was that International travelers and domestic travelers were mixing and is obviously against the convention and through the project we will ensure there will be a clear separation between domestic and international travelers”, he stated.
According to him the refurbishment of the airport is 90% completed, as most of the works in the checking areas have been completed. Works at the arrival hall and VIP terminal have begun and the collective area has been expanded. The capacity of the airport will be accommodative for at least 5 to 10 years after which there will be discussions to put up a complete terminal that will meet both international and commercial spaces. Mr. Uirab said, “As part of the renovation package, travelers will be saved from all inconveniences and there will be friendly customer services available to serve customers and modern equipment that will save time and cost of customers.”
Decrying the liquidation of Air Namibia which serviced most of the domestic routes, Mr. Uirab stated that travelers face challenges traveling within the country despite the existence of other local airlines.
Within the African regionally, he said Air Namibia connected Windhoek to a number of capital cities in the southern hemisphere but due to its current demise will have travelers to the country doing so via Johannesburg, Addis Ababa and others, causing time consumption and cost. He however added, there have been deliberate decisions to try and position Namibia as a logistics hub by creating an alluring environment where investors will feel comfortable and confident to invest in the country specifically in the aviation sector.
He said the airport will put measures in place to ensure traveller’s comfort and safety, especially in June when Namibia hosts UNWTO’s Brand Africa Conference.