By Donna Collins
THE much anticipated state-of-the-art terminal building at the Walvis Bay International Airport has been completed, and will be inaugurated tomorrow by President Hage Geingob, positioning it as the second largest airport in the country.
Built at an estimated cost of N$95 million, the Namibian Airports Company (NAC), has elevated this once small and outdated ‘Rooikop’ airport to international standards, which is poised to become a logistics hub for cargo planes, freight forwarding and the constant flow of travellers.
In fact the timing of completion couldn’t have come at a more perfect moment, with the arrival of Hollywood superstars Tom Cruise and Russell Crow, who will be jetting into Walvis Bay shortly for the filming of the remake of ‘The Mummy’. Most of the crew for the film will be facilitated through the new terminal building, and they will be some of the first passengers to make use of this world class facility.
It is said that the new modern airport terminal can cater to a sustained passenger flow of over 200 passengers per hour, and at least one million passengers per annum. Not only has it increased in size by 30 percent, the ultra modern 4633m2 architectural structure, is designed to encourage natural movement of passengers, and responds to the needs of the elderly and disabled people, with lifts and other related amenities.
Furthermore, the eye-catching building also offers an increased number of restaurants, six retail outlets, airline services, banking services, and five car rental services, among the other prescribed airport services.
The developments at the airport encompass the latest aviation and specific airport management and operation technology in terms of safety and security. A state-of-the-art X-Ray scanner has been installed, with the aim being to serve passengers and cargo in a timely and efficient manner.
Walvis Bay International Airport has grown into the busiest airport in the Erongo region, and with this long awaited upgrade, it is now positioned to facilitate the increased holiday and corporate travellers. Already direct flights out of Walvis Bay to various destinations in South Africa are serving the growing business community and tourist industry alike.
In addition, NAC has made great strides in upgrading Walvis Bay’s airport into a world class facility that will encompass the latest aviation infrastructure both on the refurbished and extended runway
plus new apron, costing over N$200 million.
The ongoing developments included a state-of-the-art world class landing instrumentation that will enable movements even during overcast weather conditions. This makes Walvis Bay one of only few airports in southern Africa to boast such technology and more useful for an airport at the coast where overcast conditions often prevail.
According to airport manager Chrizelda George, the ambitious airport revamp has gone off smoothly despite airport operations working out of a temporary facility, whilst building and constructing to the existing terminal building and parking area was underway.
“There is no doubt that once the doors are open to the terminal building, business will boom and expand into the direction that has been intended, and once we are done with the official opening, we will be operating from the new space from Saturday, which is very exciting.”
George mentioned that most of the tenants will have moved into their respective units by tomorrow, except for Mugg & Bean which had a technical delay, and will instead open their doors
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