HKIA expansion project steams ahead

By Hilary Mare

NAMIBIA Airports Company (NAC) board chairperson, Dr Leake Hangala has said that contractors of the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) congestion alleviation project, Nexus, together with the project team are capitalising on the down time of airport operations to ensure continued construction works.

The expansion project is envisaged to address congestion challenges, safety and security issues and to comply with the national and international regulations and standards.

“I am glad to report that the project has resulted in the creation of 226 Namibian employees,” Hangala said adding that the extension in Terminal 2 will improve the level of service to passengers in accordance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) optimum level of service.

“The expansion on the airside (apron) will be able to accommodate current and future demand including aircraft parking stands in compliance with national and international regulations and standards. These works will also allow for separation between the international domestic passengers once both terminals one and two are completed.

“The project team has been analysing the full extent of the Covid-19 impact to the project as well as the ripple effect of post lockdown delays with regards to material and equipment supplies and have put in measures to address these challenges,” he further explained.

Expressing optimism that it will be business as usual at HKIA soon, Hangala went on to say that under stage four of the lockdown, the company expects a gradual opening of borders to selected countries soon and normal flight schedules are expected to resume subject to screening and quarantine protocols.

“Allow me to reassure our esteemed clients that the company has made considerable efforts on restart plans for our entire airport to ensure that operations will comply with the required protocols amidst the pandemic,” he said.

NAC has taken a strategic decision to lead industry consultation to conceptualise the road map of the aviation industry in Namibia.

It is believed that this forum will bring together strategic partners to advance further developments of the aviation industry to position Namibia as a regional logistic hub in line with the national development plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, but also to devise a framework where Namibia will make itself visible as a tourism destination and where the local industry will ensure that demand is created to attract the world (tourists, investors, students) to Namibia.

“These interventions would be necessary to reemphasise the significant role airports, specifically the NAC plays in the global economy – the role to facilitate trade and investments, employment creation and the enhancement of travel and tourism which result in increased direct, indirect and induced benefits for the economy,” remarked Hangala.