Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Ministry fails to rein in NAC

Namibia Airports Company has failed to conduct critical maintenance checks related to safe fuel supply at Hosea Kutako International Airport.
The Patriot has learnt that NAC has not done pressure testing of the fuel-line supply at the airport since 2016 and has ignored ministerial orders to carry out the checks.
The pressure checks are supposed to be carried out every 12 months.
Ministry of Works and Transport sources said the ministry is not impressed with the failure to conduct the critical maintenance procedure. NAC’s Acting Chief Executive Office Albertus Aochamub confirmed that no pressure checks were conducted since 2016.
It is the responsibility of NAC to facilitate the pressure testing of the fuel-line which determines if there are any leakages on the fuel pipes from the fuel farm to the apron at the airport.
The department of Government Air Services raised concerns over the fuel hydrant checks at a ministerial management meeting held last week. It is understood that the NAC has been informed on numerous accounts but remains silent on the matter.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, no tests were done last year. For 2018 though, we are busy with the process to commission the required tests,” said Aochamub.
The airport has in the past and at present faced downgrade threats. Earlier this year, media reports indicated that the international aviation regulator ICAO could downgrade the country’s biggest airport over safety concerns.
Should the airport get a downgrade, this could launch the exodus of several airlines out of Namibia. Airlines like KLM could pull the plug while the likes of Emirates, Lufthansa and Turkish airlines could reconsider their standing agreements with the airports authority.
The current HKIA building was a temporary structure built in 1985 to cater for a 200 000 populace. As it stands now, that number has quadrupled to one million passengers per annum and is literally bursting at it seams.
“We will continue to implement our mandate to ensure safe and secure airports for passengers.” said Aochamub.
A downgrade of the airport would not be anything new to the facility.
In 2014, ICAO downgraded HKIA following inspections that revealed safety hazards. It is unsure what the airport has since done to ensure the safety and security concerns will not see the inspection findings this time.
The airport remains a hotly discussed topic in the domestic aviation circles, with politicians holding the view that the only lasting solution to the HKIA perpetual list of problems is a refurbishment of the facility.
Government is however undecided, it is yet to make a determination on whether there is still need upgrade and expand the existing Hosea Kutako International Airport. In February this year, ( International Civil Aviation Organisation ) warned of a downgrade if the Hosea Kutako was not renovated.
The organisation indicated that they would inspect by the end of June 2018.
Former attorney general Sacky Shanghala, in a legal opinion last year, urged government to decide if the project is still a priority.
More so, he wanted to know how NAC would fund the project in the event that it refuses to start the process afresh as per the wish of government.
Shanghala at the time said: “Determinations need to made whether the project is still a priority for the country or the NAC; if government will instruct NAC to cancel the tender and commence the process anew; whether NAC is empowered in terms of its tender policies and procedures to cancel the tender at this stage and does the fact that Anhui is in possession of the Board of Directors decision present any legal impediment to cancellation and if NAC is required as a public body to provide reasons for its determination to cancel the tender, if it so decides.”

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