By Hilary Mare
FOLLOWING the arrival of international airlines such as Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch airlines and more recently the Ethiopian airline, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa has said that Government has adopted a liberal aviation policy and will continue to encourage and support new routes in order to deliver in implementing the Harambee Prosperity Plan and National Development Goals.
Addressing delegates at the occasion of the Ethiopian Airlines inaugural flight to Windhoek last week, Sankwasa highlighted that the introduction of the new route by Ethiopian Airlines will lead to increased intra African connectivity and can serve as a gateway for trade integration at a time when Namibia is expanding its air service development, given its geographical position, in pursuit to become a logistics hub.
“Air connectivity can only enhance our attractiveness as a global city and truly transform Windhoek into an international business centre, which is a key factor in attracting investment and tourism. Hence, the Government has adopted a liberal aviation policy, welcoming all countries to establish air connectivity with Windhoek, and foreign airlines to operate at our airport.
“Our liberal aviation policy encourages competition and excellence in services and reduced air tickets. It is common knowledge that international air transport is moving millions of people and businesses on a daily basis across the globe. I hope you will agree with me that air transport guarantees the just-on-time delivery business strategy where goods and services could be expected as of yesterday. With the ever changing business world the just-on – time delivery is a not negotiable issue.
“The arrival of Ethiopian Airlines to Windhoek presents massive opportunities for economic development. It is important to highlight that Namibia is geographically well placed to be a key player in the aviation industry on the African continent. It is an opportunity we must exploit to fulfil our national goal of industrialisation,” he said. Seconding Sankwasa, acting Chief Executive of the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Courage Silombela reiterated that NAC will continue to encourage and support new routes in order to deliver on the aspiration to position Namibia as a Logistics Hub in implementing the Harambee Prosperity Plan and National Development Plan. “We cannot over emphasise the importance of connectivity that the Ethiopian Airlines bring with it. The introduction of new route between Windhoek and Addis Ababa will bring about increased intra African connectivity. It will serve as a springboard to enable connections to 95 new destinations around the world, such as Asia, Europe, Americas, and the Middle East. This will result in reduced connectivity times, increased frequencies, and a variety of choices and ultimately reduced travelling costs.
“The economic benefits for both countries will be numerous as air transportation is an enabler to facilitate increased tourist flows; as well as cultivating trade facilitation between the countries. This new route will open doors to new markets which intern will boost our economy and employment opportunities. “We are aware of the current infrastructure limitation and set backs at our international airport, however, NAC has developed smart strategies in order to accommodate all new airlines. This is done in terms of slot allocation in the meantime. However, plans to expand our infrastructure are underway to address the ever increasing traffic demands at our flagship airport Hosea Kutako International Airport,” he said.
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