THE long-awaited expansion of Hosea Kutako International Airport at a cost of N$250 million will start next week, says the Namibia Airports Company.
The chairperson of the board of directors of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Leaked Hangala, said today that the upgrade will double the passenger handling capacity of the airport.
The NAC will contribute N$95 million of the project's budget, while the government is expected to fork out the remaining N$155 million.
The upgrade will include an increase in check-in counters to a total of 18 counters, with an additional five self-service check-in kiosks and an increase in departure security screening points from three to five, Hangala said.
He also noted that the project will also see an increase in immigration departure counters to seven counters, from the current four.
Hangala added that a new departure hall at the airport would see an overall increase of immigration counters to 17, compared to the current eight.
Speaking at a ground-breaking event at the airport today, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised the need to upgrade the airport and urged the contractor to complete the upgrade on time and within budget.
"It is important for the government to create an enabling environment to support air transport to benefit from the projected growth in the matter estimated by the Airports Council International, which estimates that emerging and developing economies will account for over 60% of all passenger movements traffic by 2040," she said.
NAC chief executive Bisey /Uirab added that international routes added to the airport's network in 2016 increased passenger demand and a need to alleviate congestion at the airport prompted the upgrade.
The current airport terminal building was constructed in 1985 to handle 250 000 passengers per year. It has been reported that the airport now deals with nearly one million travellers per year.
"It is our distinct expectation that once this project is completed, both the NAC employees and all other service providers at this airport will put in concerted efforts to up their service delivery to our esteemed travellers and customers in order to ensure that they leave this airport with the best, memorable experience," /Uirab stated.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of September 2020.