The Namibia Airports Company expects a gradual reopening of borders to selected countries and normal flight schedules are expected to resume.
This is subject to screening and quarantine protocols, once Namibia migrates to stage 4 of the state of emergency regulations.
This is according to the chairperson of the NAC board, Leake Hangala, who was speaking yesterday during the NAC’s annual general meeting media briefing in the capital. As a commercial enterprise governed under the Public Enterprises Governance Act, the NAC held its annual general meeting yesterday.
“Allow me to re-assure our esteemed clients that the company has made considerable efforts on re-start plans for all our airports to ensure that operations will comply to the required protocols amidst the pandemic,” said Hangala, adding that the NAC scooped a third-best plan, out of 12 competing airports, for an African Airports restart competition by the Airports Council International (ACI).
In a recent communique, the ACI stated: “As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, passenger traffic continues to drop to historic lows and the financial situation of airports has deteriorated to an unprecedented level. All major airports are facing catastrophic declines in traffic volumes, and, in many instances, either near or complete closure of infrastructure to regular commercial operations of passenger airlines. The situation is asphyxiating the airport industry financially, threatening the preservation of essential operations, millions of jobs, and the ability of the airport industry to recover from the crisis.”
Hangala yesterday said this statement from ACI “unequivocally articulates the precarious position the aviation industry finds itself in”.
At yesterday’s AGM, the NAC also discussed the company’s audited financial statements of which there has been a concerted effort to conclude the outstanding annual financial statements for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial years.
“Today, we have presented these statements to our shareholder for approval and although some may view the content of the statements as historical issues, we view it as an enormous achievement to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the provisions relating to the legal framework referred to above and a governance check on the financial statements will indicate that the organisation is now current and compliant,” said Hangala. He added that the 2020 financial statements are under review and it is envisaged the NAC will complete these statements within the set legal framework and to be fully compliant by the end of September 2020.
Furthermore, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NAC reviewed its 2020/2021 budget which took into account activities that would guarantee the achievement of the strategic objective of the company, namely to ensure the continuity of safe and secure airports.
Hangala explained that the NAC discussed a deferment on all capital expenditure, except those that are related to compliance and safety or those that are of national importance such as the Hosea Kutako International Airport Congestion Alleviation Project and the Eros Runway Holding Action.
He added that the NAC will cease all discretionary operational expenditure and focus on expenditure that has already been committed to or those expenditures that cannot be deferred or avoided and is considering a significant reduction on staff related cost in freezing non-compliance positions, encouraging job sharing, suspension of salary increments and extending much-needed assistance to social partners.
Said Hangala: “An undertaking is made to have a quarterly review on the annual budget during this unprecedented crisis as we all remain unsure of what the future holds.”
The chairperson continued that the NAC has taken a strategic decision to lead industry consultation to conceptualise the road map of the aviation industry in Namibia.
“It is believed that this forum will bring together strategic partners to advance further developments of the aviation industry to position Namibia as a regional logistic hub in line with the national development plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, but also to devise a framework where Namibia will make itself visible as a tourism destination and where the local industry will ensure that demand is created to attract the world (tourists, investors, students) to our beautiful country,” Hangala added. He noted that these interventions would be necessary to re-emphasise the significant role airports, specifically the NAC, plays in the global economy, including the role to facilitate trade and investments, employment creation and the enhancement of travel and tourism which result in increased direct, indirect and induced benefits for the economy.
2020-06-23 10:57:12 | 22 days ago