Airport downgrade costly for Air Namibia

28 Aug 2014 07:30am
ONGWEDIVA, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – Air Namibia spent about N.dollars 3.5 million on the two small aircrafts used to collect passengers from Gaborone to Windhoek during the downgrading of Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) last month.
Air Namibia’s acting Managing Director Rene Gsponer said this here on Wednesday, as he made a presentation on the operations of the national airline at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair.
The HKIA was downgraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) from a Category Nine to a Category Five in July this year, effectively halting the operations of Air Namibia’s A330-200 fleet at that airport.
The audit done by ICAO had 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.
Gsponer said the downgrading caused Air Namibia’s A330-200 to operate from Frankfrunt to Gaborone, Botswana and the airline provided two A319 aircrafts to collect passengers from Botswana to Windhoek.
“This only happened one day during the downgrading of the Hosea Kutako International Airport. It does not affect our operation too much,” he said.
Gsponer said the provision of the two aircrafts cost the airline about N.dollars 1.5 in fuel and operational costs; about N.dollars 1 million for bookings and registration and another N.dollars 1 million for customer classification.
Also speaking at the presentation, Namibia Airport Company’s Marketing and Business Development officer, Veronicia Montsi said her company learnt a valuable lesson from the experience and much will be done to ensure that such situation does not repeat itself in future.
“That was an unfortunate situation and we have learnt a lesson. We are now preparing for the airport to be upgraded to Category 10,” Montsi said.
Earlier this month, the HKIA was upgraded back to a Category Nine airport after authorities address the shortcomings that were identified by ICAO.