The Aviation and Connectivity Forum currently underway in the capital is expected to yield a long term strategy and roadmap that will guide the reimaging of the namibian aviation landscape in the next coming years.
Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa said the forum will focus on how Namibia can re-emerge from the recent COVID-19 pandemic with a resilient and sustainable aviation industry.
“This Forum is expected to pave the way for the development of a series of policy and structural reforms, which will eventually be outlined as part of a White Paper, to be developed at the end of the Forum’s deliberations. As Government, we would like to see how aviation can continue to play a central role, in the attainment of national goals, encapsulated in the Namibian Government’s National Development Plans (NDPs), Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPPII) and the National Transport Policy,” he said.
This Forum too, should be able to address the connectivity issues around the Country and serve as the introduction of other domestic and international routes in the future, which will possibly lower the fares, as well as increase the capacity and size of aircrafts.
According to Leake Hangala, Chairperson Namibia Airports Company Limited the aim of the Forum is to chart a new, enduring but sustainable vision for the Namibian aviation industry.
He said this vision and program must place Namibia at the forefront of connecting people and goods from region to region and country to continents.
“For the aviation sector to be sustainable, it must certainly be technologically advanced in terms of equipment, efficiency of service, as well as being safe and reliable. Our envisioned aviation industry must also be accessible and affordable to many of our citizens. More importantly, majority Namibians must be active participants and beneficiaries in the industry through employment, management and ownership,” he said.
Hangala further noted that one of the challenges of the aviation industry is that the barriers to entries are very high in terms of capital required, skills, infrastructure requirements, as well as the need for adherence to international safety and security standards.
Thus, he said It is given that for any nation to succeed in this sector, there must be collaborative efforts from all role players including Government, private sector and international partners.
“That is why Namibia Airports Company is proud to be at the centre of this Forum, bringing together our best and brightest in aviation and related sectors with the aim of coming up with a national vision that will define the future of our nation’s aviation industry. It is our ultimate hope that this vision will make Namibia a flying nation,” he said.
Bisey /Uirab, Chairperson of the Steering Committee Namibia Aviation and Connectivity Forum said the Namibian aviation industry, together with all its ancillary sectors and industries within its ecosystem, has been in dire need for a resuscitation strategy as well as to be included as a central role player in the wider national and regional aspirations.
He added that It goes without saying that the aviation industry has been a catalyst for economic activity and crucial for the growth of the economy.
“The past few years have been punctuated by a series of unfortunate world events, not least of which was the COVID-19 pandemic, and the descendance into recession of the world economy. Such turbulent times the whole world have experienced provide us with a rare opportunity to sit back, rethink and reimagine the way we view the world around us. In the transport, logistics, and travel industries, having been some of the worst hit by the effects of the pandemic, this time presents a new dawn, a time to start over, build again, and emerge more resilient than ever before,” He said.
Meanwhile, key deliveries of this forum will include a white paper outlining and reforms aimed at expediting the resuscitation of the aviation industry after the covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, identification of aviation investment opportunities and potential financiers for the various projects and development of a national strategy and implementation plan of how aviation will play a central role in the logistics hub aspirations detailed in NPD 5 and Harambee Prosperity Plan 2.