Menzies holding Namibian cargo hostage

Niël Terblanché

The air cargo warehouse standoff at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) has now entered its second week with Menzies Aviation Namibia still blatantly refusing to hand over cargo handling responsibilities to Paragon Aviation Services (PAS).

Dan Kamati, the spokesperson of Namibia Airports Company (NAC) confirmed on Monday that the status quo of the cargo that was under Menzies’ control at the time of their eviction on 19 August 2023 remains unchanged.

“It remains a pressing matter for the NAC. All this despite several engagements. Menzies has been adamant and has not yet released the cargo to PAS, the newly authorised cargo ground handler in order for it to be released to the rightful owners of the cargo,” he said.

Bisey /Uirab, the Chief Executive Officer of the NAC, towards the end of last week, said that it is rather unfortunate that both Menzies and the relevant freight forwarders’ organisation did not respond to NAC’s request to hand over the responsibilities.

The continued refusal is suggestive of a hostage situation because critical medication and vital cargo are all still stuck in the air cargo warehouse more than a week later.

He said the initial aim was to remedially address the cargo situation at HKIA but the handover of responsibilities cannot be implemented without Menzies’ cooperation. PAS is currently handling cargo and freight operations through its own internationally accredited warehouse and scanning facilities.

/Uirab stated that it is regrettable that some aviation stakeholders seem intent on spreading falsehoods about Paragon’s industry certifications and capacity to render ground handling services at HKIA. He reiterated that the allegations are devoid of truth as Paragon’s relevant certifications by the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are well documented and readily available for objective verification.

/Uirab gave the assurance that all other airport operations were back to normal following the transition in all other ground handling services.

In the meantime, Namibians in need of urgent medication are left to fend for themselves while businesses that rely entirely on the continuous flow of goods through the air cargo warehouse at the HKIA face financial ruin.

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