Over the next five years Namibia will invest 1.5 billion Namibian dollars (R1.2 billion) on upgrading five of the country’s airports, allowing two major airports to accept any sized aircraft, including super jumbo jets.
The state-owned Namibia Airports Company (NAC) said in a statement that the improvements would enable it to offer round-the-clock service from the Hosea Kutako International Airport (45 km outside Windhoek) and Walvis Bay airport, and allow them to operate wide body aircraft.
The company is spending R120 million on runway rehabilitation at Hosea Kutako, which should be completed by the end of February. This is its biggest undertaking since it was built, and is financed partly by the Namibian Ministry of Works and Transport. In addition, NAC also plans to build a new passenger arrivals terminal, an office block and a head office at Hosea Kutako.
Hosea Kutako is Namibia’s only international airport and handles over 640 000 passengers and 14 000 aircraft movements a year. Its runway is 4 532 metres long.
At the Walvis Bay airport (15 km east of the town) NAC will expand the terminal and refurbish the old taxiway and apron, at a cost of around R37 million. The increased terminal capacity would boost passenger movement from 50 passengers an hour to 250 passengers an hour, paired with increased retail offerings.
“The Walvis Bay fishing export industry will also benefit greatly from this expansion as traffic will return to the area, resulting in lower transport costs of particularly fish exports to international markets,” the company said in the statement.
In addition, certain projects to increase safety and security would be undertaken at Windhoek’s smaller Eros airport and the Lüderitz airport. Eros, 5 km from Windhoek’s central business district, is the NAC’s busiest airport. It has a 2 229 metre long runway. It was recently upgraded with an Air Cargo Terminal, car parks and renovation of the terminal and Customs and Excise buildings.
Many of Namibia’s airports have been upgraded or are currently completing various upgrades designed to promote economic and social development. In November 2004 President Sam Nujoma launched a 256.6 million Namibian dollar (R300 million) project for the rehabilitation and upgrading of airports and civil aviation infrastructure around the country.
NAC started operations in 1999 and currently owns and operates eight airports, including Hosea Kutako International, Eros, Walvis Bay, Keetmanshoop, Luderitz, Rundu, Katima Mulilo and Ondangwa.