Airline troubles continue to mount as flights divert
The national airline continues to get the short end of the stick following the recent ICAO audit on Namibia Airports Company’s facilities at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport which resulted in the downgrade of the airport from a category 9 to a category 5 airport.
In response to the downgrade, Air Namibia applied to be granted exemption in order to continue its Airbus A330 operations, which exemption was granted on 24 July.
However, the review by ICAO has re-enforced the downgrade and has revoked any exemptions that might have been granted.
As a result, Air Namibia can no longer operate the A330-200 fleet in or out of Hosea Kutako Airport until such time that Namibia Airports Company has rectified the shortcomings to the satisfaction of ICAO
In a media release it was said that the downgrade of Hosea Kutako Airport has affected all aircraft requiring category 7 and higher rescue and fire-fighting services.
The scheduled flights from Windhoek to Frankfurt that were scheduled to depart on Wednesday, saw flight SW 285 operate from Lusaka, while affected passengers will be flown to Lusaka with two A319- 100’s to further proceed with the ferried A330.
The media release also stated that Flight SW 286 from Frankfurt to Windhoek on 31 July was diverted to Lusaka and passengers will be flown to Windhoek this Friday using the two A319-100’s.
On behalf of the Head of Communications, Hilia Sikuda said, “We will continue to operate in this manner for the next two weeks or until such time that Namibia Airports Company has fulfilled the requirements.
“We wish to apologize for the inconvenience caused to all travellers and relevant stakeholders, and once again reiterate that this is as a result of something outside our control and not of our own making.
We are committed to deliver excellent service and offer assistance to all our stakeholders despite these challenges,” she added.
Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport is owned, operated and managed by Namibia Airports Company. Air Namibia, like other airlines operating into this airport with larger aircraft are negatively impacted by this development.
The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations, Fenata said in their response immediately after the announcement, “Fenata expresses utter disappointment and shock at yet another announcement that the Hosea Kutako International Airport has again been downgraded, hence closed to larger aircraft.”
“FENATA would like to commend our National Airline, Air Namibia, for its professional and prompt contingency plans to try to salvage this extremely bad situation, and calls on the government to urgently intervene at the National Airports Company to prevent any further crisis and disaster, as the current situation has already caused untold damage to Namibia’s reputation, has brought with it tremendous costs and could be detrimental to Namibia’s good image as convenient, safe and first-choice tourism destination.”