New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: N$67 Million Walvis Bay Airport Upgrade

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) will soon be upgrading the Walvis Bay Airport at a cost of over N$67 million.

The coastal airport is said to have the potential to become a leader in cargo handling and the servicing of the fishing sector. The NAC's spokesperson, Mia Davids, said the tender to upgrade the airport was re-awarded to New Era Investment at the end of September last year.

"The airport is in operation at this point in time. The current terminal building will be upgraded, which in essence entails that the old terminal will be retained at the heart of the project, but will be hidden behind a modern concourse expansion. By June 2013, all operations will relocate to the temporary facility after which the renovation work of the terminal building and expansion thereof will commence and last for about 554 days," explained Davids.

The Walvis Bay Airport currently handles daily connection flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport, as well as Eros Airport. Two weeks ago the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein bemoaned the dilapidated state of the Walvis Bay Airport, saying the situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Schlettwein, who recently returned from a visit to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he witnessed the integration of all forms of transport modes to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and people, said the Walvis Bay Airport should form part of a seamless logistics integration between Namibia's air, rail, road and port facilities to transform the country into an efficient logistics hub for the region.

According to the trade and industry minister, the current capacity and capability of Namibia's logistics sector does not appear to reflect the importance attached to this important area. "Our rail and air transport utilities must be re-engineered to become competitive, cost-effective entities," he said.

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