Hosea Kutako International Airport upgraded to Category Nine

10 Aug 2014 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 10 AUG (NAMPA) – The Hosea Kutako International Airport has been upgraded to Category Nine after a number of shortcomings identified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) were addressed.
ICAO downgraded the airport from Category Nine to Category Five last month following an audit of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC)’s facilities at the airport.
The audit found that specific elements on two rescue and fire fighting trucks were dysfunctional; and that training records of fire and rescue personnel were not available.
As a result of the downgrade, Air Namibia could no longer operate its A330-200 fleet in or out of the Hosea Kutako International Airport the NAC rectified the shortcomings.
Speaking at a media briefing at the airport on Sunday, the NAC’s acting Chief Executive Officer Tamer El-Kallawi said the safety deficiencies needed to be rectified immediately as the international airport operates in accordance with international standards and recommended practises.
The NAC has now acquired two new fire trucks as a measure to address deficiencies in the rescue and fire-fighting services at the airport.
El-Kallawi said the airport currently has four aviation fire and rescue vehicles in place, with the total capacity exceeding the requirements for Category Nine.
An additional nine fire trucks are due for delivery and will be distributed to other airports.
“All fire and rescue vehicles are in a serviceable condition with emphasis on maintenance agreements and standing operating procedures to avoid a repetition of what transpired. Additional fire and rescue personnel have been re-deployed to the Hosea Kutako International Airport to intensify the shift strength of the airport as a safety precautionary measure given that it is our flagship airport,” he said.
El-Kallawi noted that there was a misunderstanding regarding the record keeping of the fire and rescue services training records, which could not be availed the fire officers at the time of the audit. He explained that all training records are kept by the company’s Human Resources Department at the head office and not at the airport for safe keeping purposes.
Standing operating procedures regarding NAC’s communication and alarm systems and all related emergency procedures were also reviewed to enhance safety measures.
El-Kallawi further highlighted the rehabilitation of six airports and upgrade of four airports around the country as part of the NAC’s strategic plan for the next three years, which was finalised in May 2014 to improve the company’s level of compliance.
He said six key priority areas were identified in the strategic plan, including the ensuring of the safety and security of airports, ensuring that airport infrastructure and equipment is periodically maintained to applicable standards, as well as generating revenue growth, and improving customer satisfaction.
“As you are all aware structure follows strategy hence the need to re-align our organisational structure to implement strategy. I would like to categorically make it clear that no employee will be laid off during the process as have been reported in the media. A skills audit has been conducted and employees will be placed accordingly,” he said.