NAC decries hijacking of air cargo warehouse at HKIA

Niël Terblanché

Menzies Aviation Namibia’s blatant refusal to hand over cargo handling responsibilities to Paragon Aviation Services (PAS) at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) has left the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) flabbergasted.

Bisey/Uirab, the Chief Executive Officer of the NAC in a statement 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 responsibilities. The refusal resulted in critical medication and vital cargo getting stuck in the air cargo warehouse for almost a week.

“The aim was to remedially address the cargo situation at HKIA but the handover of responsibilities cannot be implemented without Menzies’ cooperation,” /Uirab said.

/Uirab undertook to follow up with Menzies and the freight forwarders’ entity to resolve the matter soonest.

“We hope that Menzies will positively respond with the necessary urgency by handing over the cargo to Paragon for it to be appropriately handled by the company in keeping with its role as the provider of ground handling services at the HKIA,” he said.

He added that PAS is currently handling cargo and freight operations through its own internationally accredited warehouse and scanning facilities.

“The already-delivered cargo within Menzies’ erstwhile warehouse facilities – which continues to be retained in the same secure area – is an issue that we are urgently attending to. The NAC has requested an inventory of the cargo and freight within those facilities to ensure a timely release thereof,” he stated.

/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 added that the NAC pointedly denies the untruthful information.

“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. The NAC cannot fathom the rationale for the dissemination of misleading information by these stakeholders. We implore airlines and all other stakeholders to first proactively ascertain the actual state of affairs from Paragon, the NCAA as well as NAC to prevent a recurrence of misleading the public about Paragon’s capacity and certification to render ground handling services at HKIA,” he said.

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

He said that Eurowings Discover and Qatar Airways subjectively and unilaterally elected to divert to the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg of their own volition.

“The diversion of the flights had nothing to do with any conditions at the HKIA or the requisite capacity to provide relevant ground handling services to such flights,” he said.

According to /Uirab both Eurowings Discover and Qatar Airways resumed regular operations to the HKIA since the start of the week.

“PAS has managed the transition capably, working closely with all airlines and relevant stakeholders. Baggage arrival times on the carousels have also improved, notably with priority baggage receiving the deserved attention. We are grateful to our airline partners who have cooperated with Paragon during this transition, thereby ensuring a seamless move to a new ground handling service provider at the HKIA,” he said.

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