The Namibia Airports Company (NAC) yesterday slammed as “untruthful and misleading” reports published in The Namibian newspaper on the technical specifications and functionality of airport scanners at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA).
The NAC said that local safety and security standards at all airports is priority number one, in line with its three-year strategic plan (2014-17).
The Namibian recently reported that NAC scanners valued at N$48 million were installed at Eros, Hosea Kutako, Walvis Bay and Ondangwa airports over the past four months but that the scanners can only detect objects weighing more than 300g. The scanners are for cargo and baggage, as well as walk through metal detectors.
“NAC hereby emphatically avers that all scanners and metal detectors at NAC airports comply with prescribed international standards for airport security screening. This media release further serves to inform the public and relevant stakeholders that the security screening equipment at all airports that are operated by NAC have been procured in accordance with requisite security specifications that have been provided by our regulator, the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) in the Ministry of Works and Transport,” said NAC’s spokesperson, Mia Davids, in a statement released yesterday.
Davids further pointed out that luggage scanners and metal detectors are two separate types of security screening equipment used for different screening purposes. She noted however that both the metal detectors and luggage scanners are compliant with the said international standards.
“NAC is in fact proud to enlighten the public that apart from the security screening equipment at our airport being compliant with DCA specifications in the manner aforesaid, 75 major airports in the USA, Canada and Europe are presently utilizing exactly the same airport security screening equipment that NAC currently uses at HKIA, and all the other airports on account of their compliance to prescribed international security requirements and their effectiveness,” added Davids.
“We would like to assert that the NAC, in conjunction with other stakeholders including Namibian law enforcement agencies, place high priority on safety and security at our airports; hence we are not at liberty to divulge details pertaining to specifications of the newly installed scanners as doing so would compromise national security.”
Davids said that the information should allay any concerns the public may have had regarding the actual state of affairs in respect of security screening equipment at NAC airports. “We humbly request that in future due consideration should be given to security of the state prior to publication of articles that could have adverse repercussions on issues of national security.”
The Namibian also reported last week that Namibian Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga wants the NAC to remove all scanners with a capacity limitation that were installed at the country’s airports. Ndeitunga reportedly said scanners, which cannot detect any metal objects weighing less than 300g as per aviation requirements will be removed once an agreement is reached with other stakeholders.
“We are very concerned. You can damage the tourism industry. People will also not want to fly in planes coming from Namibia,” Ndeitunga reportedly said.
Meanwhile, IBB Military Services and Accessories Suppliers director Muhamed Omar, whose company is an agent of the United States-based Astrophysics, which supplied the scanners, claimed no specifications were provided when the scanner tender was advertised.