Air Namibia has been forced to relocate its intercontinental flight operations to Zambia as the civil aviation watchdog upheld its downgrade of Hosea Kutako International Airport due to substandard rescue and fire-fighting services, APA learnt here.In a statement on Wednesday night, the airline announced that for the next two weeks, it would operate its A330-200 from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Zambian capital Lusaka while the Namibia Airports Company (NCA) rectifies the shortcomings to the satisfaction of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The ICAO early this month conducted an audit of facilities at Hosea Kutako International Airport to determine its capacity to deal with rescue emergency.
The audit found that the airport was not well equipped and does not meet international emergency standards.
As a result, Air Namibia’s large Airbus planes were banned from landing at and taking-off from the airport.
The NCA was a few days later granted a reprieve by Works and Transport Minister Erkki Nghimtina but the ICAO on Wednesday overruled the exemption.
To minimise the impact of the inconvenience caused to passengers as a result of the NAC’s shortcomings, the company said Flight SW 286 from Frankfurt to Windhoek on Thursday would divert to Lusaka and passengers would be flown to Windhoek using smaller planes that are still allowed to land at Hosea Kutako.
“We will continue to operate in this manner for the next two weeks or until such time that the Namibia Airports Company has fulfilled the requirements,” the company said.