By Staff Reporter
A daunting international safety audit report done by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) made a crushing 50 adverse IOSA safety findings against the beleaguered state owned company which is battling financial inadequacies.
ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations which changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
An expert that has declined to be named for safety reasons, has told this publication that the non-compliance by Air Namibia could lead to the airline losing its ICAO status and with that all international overflight rights.
According to the audit, Air Namibia is expected to have processes within to be used in the event of an emergency situation that endangers the safety of the aircraft.
However, audit findings were that Air Namibia does not have a process to be used in the event of an emergency situation that endangers the safety of the aircraft or persons, including those situations that become known first to the flag carrier.
According to the report, such process ensures that the FOA initiates emergency procedures while avoiding taking any action that would conflict with ATC procedures; notifies the appropriate authorities, without delay, of the nature of the situation; requests assistance, if required and conveys, by any available means, safety-related information that may be necessary for the safe conduct of the flight, including information related to any necessary amendments to the flight plan.
Air Namibia does not have procedures that are applicable to the ERJ135 fleet and specify flight crew functions and actions to be executed during an emergency evacuation and address supernumeraries as required.
Another serious concern is that Air Namibia does not have guidance that addresses the use of flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.
This ensures that the flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders are only switched off by the flight crew after a flight when required to preserve data in the event of an accident or serious incident.
Further, Air Namibia does not have a process and/or procedures to ensure the contingency fuel required in accordance with its fuel policy is the amount of fuel required to compensate for unforeseen factors that could have an influence on the fuel consumption to the destination airport.
Under ideal circumstances, aeroplanes should have procedures to ensure that the inadequacy of any facilities observed during the course of flight operations is reported to the responsible authority without undue delay.
This also ensures that information relevant to any such inadequacy is immediately disseminated to applicable operating areas within the Operator’s organization.
The audit has found that Air Namibia has none of these.
Air Namibia has been found not to have guidance and procedures to ensure enroute alternate airports selected and specified on the OFP are available for approach and landing.
“In its bare essence this audit proves Air Namibia is unsafe and non-compliant. It is dangerous to fly airlines that (do) not pass its international safety audits,” the source added.
Furthermore, Air Namibia does not have guidance and procedures to ensure a flight planned to operate in known or suspected ground icing conditions is subjected to inspection for ice accretion or given appropriate anti-icing treatment.
Another key highlight of the audit is that Air Namibia does not ensure that qualified personnel perform weight and balance calculations.
Additionally, the operator does not have guidance and procedures to ensure a planned flight does not exceed the maximum performance takeoff and landing weight limits, based upon environmental conditions expected at the times of departure and arrival.
This, as well, includes aircraft structural takeoff, en route and landing weight limits.
Meanwhile, The Patriot has been informed that Air Namibia’s A330 aircraft is in Malta – being serviced and that it will be away for a month.
“The one A 319 has apparently been returned to its owners, with the other one following in February.
Only two of the four Embraer planes are operational withone being stripped for spares, and the other has a brake assembly kit that needs replacement, but it’s not being done due to no funds. So only 60% of the entire fleet is operational,” disclosed the source.
The Patriot has previously reported that Air Namibia is also caught in a brewing storm following allegations that the executive management team deducted and had allegedly misappropriated pilots’ pensions and tax contributions without their consent.
While the company’s financial woes are now public knowledge, a source close to Air Namibia’s affairs has disclosed that Air Namibia is deep in arrears with payments to most service providers like Hilton Hotels in Europe.
Air Namibia’s crew reportedly got evicted from Hilton where there is an outstanding bill of 500 000 Euros.
For this reason, it is suspected that the airline has gone after the pilots’ tax contributions and pension to make up for other payments.
In a letter by legal firm Ellis & Partners, the minister of works and transport, John Mutorwa is informed that their “members are deeply concerned about any amounts indicated above which remain outstanding and unpaid.”
In two separate letters, one written on 8 July 2019 and another on 22 July 2019, deep concern is expressed due to the fact that Air Namibia has neglected to transfer the monthly pension fund deductions to Alexander Forbes.
In terms of international law, there is a requirement that pilots operating across international borders must be adequately insured.
“The pension, medical aid and PAYE contributions are kept under wraps – management does not answer the pilots union as to that status or where the balances owing are,” the source has said.