Windhoek Ondangwa Airport will be closed from December 20 2015 to January 29 2016, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) announced yesterday. This means air travellers will not be able to land at the airport for 40 days. “The NAC endeavours to act in the best interest of all our valued stakeholders at all times and though resulting in an unfortunate delay in this instance, we are obligated to ensure a quality product that is a safe and secure runway that will last beyond its design life,” said the NAC. Initially, the airport was expected to close from November 12 to December 17 2015, but NAC said: “Due to technicalities pertaining to risk and quality assurance, as well as the accreditation process, we experienced a slight delay in the runway rehabilitation process.” Phase 1B entails construction activities on the central portion of the runway, which will have an impact such that Air Namibia’s Embraer ERJ 135 will inevitably not be able to land and take off at Ondangwa until such a time that the construction work has been completed. Despite NAC indicating on Monday that it was left with no choice but to temporarily close the airport to allow for the rehabilitation works on the runway, the business community in the north was not impressed with the planned closure. Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Northern Branch Chairman Tomas Iindji yesterday issued a statement in which he expressed disappointment on behalf of the northern business community. “We at the NCCI Northern Branch are disappointed in the decision taken by the Namibia Airports Company and wish to condemn them for mismanagement and the inconsiderate decision to close Ondangwa Airport at such a very short notice, and without consideration of the considerable costs,” said Iindji, whose branch represents the business interests of at least 1 200 businessmen in northern Namibia. Air Namibia currently operates two flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; three flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a single flight on Saturdays to the airport. The Ondangwa-Eros flight is mostly utilised by business people who would rather prefer the 45-minute trip instead of travelling by road, which can take up to eight hours.
New Era Reporter
2015-10-30 09:07:31 3 years ago