STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS DR. LEAKE S HANGALA DURING THE PRESS BRIEFING ON NAC MATTERS HELD ON WEDNESDAY 07 NOVEMBER 2018 , 10H00, AT EROS AIRPORT ,WINDHOEK
Fellow Board Members,
NAC Executive Management,
Members of the media,
Namibia’s key entry point for international tourism and business, our flagship airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, is in an unacceptable state. The airport has reached its limit concerning capacity and therefore requires urgent expansion and upgrading to meet the demands of increasing aircraft and passenger numbers, as well as more stringent international security and safety requirements. Different and sometimes non-aligned role players that an arriving guest meets, in addition to long queues exacerbate the challenges on the ground.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Namibia Airport Company (NAC) whose explicit mandate in terms of its act is to operate the country’s public airports has been experiencing instabilities mainly due to the absence of a substantive CEO, continuous suspension of some of its senior executives as well as resignations in its board ranks.
The Government has a result of these challenges facing among others HKIA, has taken decisive actions to address the situation by appointing a Special Cabinet Committee led by the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, as well a Technical Committee to the Special Cabinet Committee comprising of Permanent Secretaries of which NAC is also party to. Government also re-enforced the Board of Directors of NAC and relaxed procurement procedures so as to enable the company to urgently address the situation at our main airport.
Against that background, the NAC Board of Directors has called you here today to share with you key information on three key aspects that Namibia Airports Company (NAC) is seized with, which are;
the Security Audit for Hosea Kutako International Airport from 18 to 28 November 2018;
the temporary upgrades at Hosea Kutako International Airport to ease congestion and improve safety and security and
The operational stability of company
ICAO SECURITY AUDIT
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has introduced new standards under amendment 16 to Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which will become applicable on 16th November 2018. This will thus make Namibia the first country to be audited against these new standards.
NAC is responsible for the coordination of the implementation of security measures at the airport level by all relevant entities and has committed, together with all stakeholders, to work on issues identified during the ICAO Security Audit of the State of Namibia in 2010 as well as other aviation security issues identified thereafter. Additionally, the Airport Council International (ACI) through the Airport Excellence in Security programme (APEX) initiative held in December 2017 at HKIA, also identified security gaps and areas of improvement that have since formed part of our holistic approach to addressing security matters at our flagship airport.
For the ICAO security audit that will take place from 18 November 2018, NAC and other relevant stakeholders have managed to close various security gaps and will continue to address evolving issues even after the ICAO Security Audit of the state of Namibia. Some of the actions taken are:
As a country, we have improved on our emergency preparedness recently;
We have reshaped the main passenger's screening point to comply with the latest ICAO requirements such as random, unpredictable and the use of appropriate screening methods that are capable of detecting the presence of explosives and explosive devices carried by passengers on their persons or in cabin baggage;
We have procured and installed additional screening machines to improve the throughput of the screening points;
We have increased human capacity (particularly Immigration and Police) to effectively provide service to the passengers;
We have implemented fast track lines for crew members, Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRMs) and families with children;
As from tomorrow or we will introduce and operationalize the apron buses that were purchased for improved passenger facilitation;
We have reduced retail space to increase screening space in the departure hall by, among others, installing an additional scanner; immigration counters and create more queuing space for passengers.
We reiterate that we are working together with the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in its capacity as the Aviation Security designated Authority and all other relevant stakeholders to identify areas of improvement with corrective actions to be implemented at the airport level.
It is important to highlight that there is no link between the upcoming ICAO Security Audit and the downgrade of any airport. Downgrade can only emanate from a Safety Audit and going forward, our efforts will be dedicated to consolidating and eliminating areas of concern.
It is also important to highlight that, as far as the NAC is concerned, the upcoming ICAO audit is not an end in itself just for the purpose of passing it, but a journey or process to implement a sustainable healthy safety, security and facilitation system at HKIA at all times.
Congestion elimination and upgrade of HKIA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current terminal building was constructed in 1985 to handle 250 000 passengers per year. At present, the airport handles nearly a million passengers per annum, as the popularity of Namibia as a tourist and business destination continues to rise for which we are extremely excited and proud of.
NAC takes note of the frustrations and anger from stakeholders in this regard, especially our tourist and business travellers. We would like to apologise to all and sundry for any inconvenience and suffering caused. We accept that the current state of affairs is making it difficult for the country's largest airport to comply with all Standards and Recommended Practices (SAPRs) of ICAO.
The HKIA immigration access was also limited as there were only two security checkpoints, which resulted in congestion and long queues at times. Outside the airport, terminal long queues often form when two or three large airlines arrive at the same time, while the baggage collections section currently only has two carousels, these will all be improved in the envisaged project that we are presently busy with.
The terminal building also never had a reliable ventilation system and this will form part of the imminent works to be done.
To this end, NAC and the Government has embarked upon aan HKIA upgrading Project currently estimated to be worth N$ 245 Million. N$95.2 million of this amount will come from NAC own resources while the balance will be provided by the shareholder. The upgrading project will include the revamp and modernizing of the check-in and departure halls, security screening point, arrivals hall and the luggage handling areas. Installation of a CCTV and intrusion detection system at HKIA has already commenced. We will also take advantage of the upgrading to introduce latest advance technologies and software systems related to self-check ins and screening for both passengers and luggage. I would like to assure the nation that such funds for the upgrading of the HKIA will be managed in the most accountable and transparent manner. It also our stated objective that it must contribute to the nation’s economy in terms of job creation and provision of goods and services.
The upgrade work will have minimal effect on the current airport operations, which will continue as usual. The old terminal, known as Terminal One, currently only used for VIP movements, will also form part of the work to be done so as to have a dedicated international departure and arrival Terminal as well as a Domestic departure and arrival Terminal. This will go along way to make HKIA as one of the advanced airport in our Region.
Congestion at HKIA is not only causing discomfort to the passengers but also creating a number of issues pertaining to the compliance of aviation regulations, especially due to prevalent mixing of screened and unscreened passengers at certain intervals of the day.
Local company, Kerry McNamara Architects are the appointed leading architect consultant to work on the design on the project for the temporary upgrade of the airport and we anticipate having a contractor on site by March 2019 after which the airport will boast a dedicated international and domestic departure and arrival halls.
Stabilising the operations of NAC
Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen,
When the current chairperson of the Board of Directors was recently appointed, part of the immediate actions that Hon. John Muturwa instructed the Board to undertake, are the appointment of a substantive CEO and to stabilise the operations of the company.
We are pleased to announce that we will finalise the appointment of a substantive CEO before the end of 2018. In addition, we have tasked Management to finalise the cases of suspended Executives of the Company and resolve matters pertain to increasing acting roles at the company. All of these efforts are aimed at improving staff morale and necessary for redirecting the company; provide leadership for effective corporate governance and consolidate resource management. In conclusion, NAC pleads for calm and patience during this transitional period, to allow for the procurement processes for these necessary works to be to done as soon as possible.
Our plan and drive is to increase the capacity of the airport, enhance passenger experience and indeed attract more investors and airlines to our shores to help Namibia become an excellent destination of choice. NAC commits to deliver timely and quality airport infrastructure manned by well-trained personnel that will make every passenger welcome to Namibia at every given time of the year, at an airport that is truly aligned to global standards.
I thank you,