CDC Aviation event cancelled for "security reasons"

25 Sep 2014 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) – The owner of Cirrus Design Corporation (CDC) Aviation, Piet van Blerk on Wednesday expressed disappointment with the Namibian authorities for disallowing entry to 29 light aircraft.
CDC Aviation organises flights into Namibia for its customers who bought pre-owned aircraft to explore the country’s beautiful scenery by air.
The single motor aircraft from South Africa (SA) were scheduled to enter Namibia from Upington, SA on Thursday. The pilots would have landed at the Eros Airport in Windhoek and proceeded to the Erindi Game Reserve, before leaving for Swakopmund.
They were scheduled to leave Namibia on Monday.
Van Blerk, who is also the organiser of the event, told Nampa on enquiry from SA on Thursday that Namibian authorities blocked their overflight permission on Monday.
Overflight may refer to the transiting of civilian aircraft over the territory of a foreign country.
The group already paid some of their accommodation and other expenses in Namibia.
These kinds of tours take place annually. Last year, the pilots went to Mozambique and Botswana in 2012.
One of the pilots, Adam Hahn from Australia, also expressed disappointment in the authorities cancelling the event “without any reason”.
He said in an e-mail sent to the Namibian media on Thursday that he has flown in many different countries around the world and experience similar obstacles on a regular basis, and almost every time the issues could be managed providing willingness to communicate, which was not the case in Namibia.
“I’m confident that we will eventually reschedule the trip with the 29 private Cirrus aircraft to go somewhere else, and it will be a great event,” said Hahn.
He personally lost about N.dollars 16 700 on airline and hotel cancelation fees.
“Most of all, I've lost out on an opportunity to see Namibia and that is what is truly disappointing,” said Hahn.
The Director of Civil Aviation, Angeline Simana-Paulo on Thursday said the pilots did not possess the necessary overflight and landing permission, and their applications were denied for “security reasons”.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology issued a media statement earlier this month, informing the nation about the proposed “Cirrus Migration aviation event”.
However, when contacted for comment on Thursday, Herman Kangootui from the ministry’s media liaison unit who issued the statement said he was not aware of the cancellation.
Spokesperson for the Namibia Tourism Board, (NTB) Maggy Mbako told this agency that she was not aware of the group’s trip here at all, and thus could not shed any light on the impact on the tourism sector.
Last year May, 12 pilots were arrested and their aircraft confiscated by the Namibian Police Force, because the pilots had no valid overflight and landing permits.
The South African pilots were released the following day and agreed to pay a fine of N.dollars 400 each to have their 12 aircraft released.