NAC keen on infrastructure development
By Staff Writer
The Namibian Airports Company (NAC) will continue to execute its major infrastructure projects across the country’s international and local airports to attain internationally accepted standards.
This comes at a time when the Government through the National Development Plans singled out the transport and logistics sector as one of the key sectors in driving the economy and also creating jobs.
The NAC has in the past two years completed upgrading key infrastructure at Eros, Ondangwa and Walvis Bay airports in line with the Government’s dream of making Namibia a transport and logistics hub.
In interview with The Southern Times, NAC Chief Executive Officer, Tamer El-Kallawi underscored the importance of internationally acclaimed infrastructure in sprucing up the image of the country and also creating appeal to international and local tourist.
“Over the last two years, we have been able to finalise key infrastructure projects at Eros, Ondangwa and Walvis Bay. At Eros we introduced a modern rescue and fire station that meets the national and international requirements for the level of operational activities at that airport.
“We also enlarged and reinforced the capacity of the runway at Ondangwa to be able to receive medium size aircrafts. At Walvis Bay we have a brand new passenger terminal capable of meeting the requirements of our customers,” El-Kallawi said
A rather upbeat El-Kallawi added that the NAC is also working to streamline its operations in line with national and international obligations.
“NACs role is about developing, maintaining and operating the airports facilities to support the transport objectives. To that end we will continue to engage Government to ensure that the key airport infrastructure projects are included in the national plan for a transport logistics hub.
“This includes the expansion of national flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) to meet the needs of the modern travellers and capitalise on the interests of international airlines to serve Namibia.
“We will also be looking at public- private partnership opportunities to harvest the benefits of the new facilities opened at Ondangwa and Walvis Bay in terms of cargo operations and other transport means,” he said.
El- Kallawi reiterated that the decision by Government to open the airspace to other international airlines including Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airways is a step in the right direction in mobilising future revenue for the company.
Although the NAC boss is optimistic about the future, he emphasised that their operations have not been without challenges in the past.
“There are two major challenges for the company that is ageing infrastructure and capacity limitations. In some instances the capacity is not sufficient to accommodate the traffic flow.
“This is particularly acute at the Hosea Kutako International Airport where we are facing difficulties of meeting the needs of the current air traffic flow,” he said.
He also added that the need to spruce up the image of the airport infrastructure will also stimulate the tourism industry which has been touted as an economic driver and serious employment creator in the future.
According to the NAC Namibia has done tremendously well to maintain high level of safety and security on her airports in line with the international regulators’ guidelines.
“I believe if each part plays their role there is reason not to reach the world class standards we aspire to as a nation. However to reach world class international standards, we also need to ensure we have sufficient and modern facilities, in particular the HKIA.
El-Kallawi says his goal is to see NAC reaching its goals in terms of service delivery and providing world class infrastructure in the next three years.
“The arrival of new airlines is testimony of keen interest that the international air transport industry has for Namibia. When we meet other international airlines at different forum they also reiterate their interest for including Namibia for their passengers.
“It is important that we continue putting the necessary infrastructure in place to be able to keep the interest of the current and future airlines,” he said.