Air Namibia’s acting managing director passed the fit and proper persons test conducted by the Directorate of Civil Aviation last month, making her the de facto accountable manager at the national airline as from November.
Samson, during an interview with New Era earlier this week, confirmed that she underwent and successfully completed the test at the end of September. She will take over from Rene Gsponer as the accountable manager on November 4, when Gsponer’s two-year contract with Air Namibia comes to an end.
She described the test as a grueling process that required intense preparation. “Going forward we need to chart a good plan to ensure we remain in compliance with all set regulations and finalise any outstanding issues before December,” she said.
Air Namibia’s Air Operation Certificate is up for renewal in December, provided that all compliance obligations have been met – one of which is that of having an accountable manager. Samson, who was nominated by the Air Namibia board of directors to take up the role, emphasised that the airline will have to come up with dedicated compliance plans to monitor compliance in future. The Directorate of Civil Aviation also confirmed that it recently conducted the fit and proper assessment on Samson’s suitability to assume the statutory accountability role required for Air Namibia.
“The outcome of her suitability is a matter between the air operator and the regulator. It is up to the air operator to make the outcome of the assessment public if it so wishes,” DCA’s acting director Gordon Elliott said.
According to Elliott, the test is conducted in the public interest to ensure that air operations are executed in an environment of safety, adding that it is an international legal obligation to ensure the test is conducted.
“One of the many regulatory functions of this regulator is to ensure that the operators of large aircraft (such as Air Namibia) engage, employ or contract persons in the senior position of accountable manager.”
After a candidate is nominated by the air operator, the DCA assesses the suitability of that nominee via the prescribed ‘fit and proper person test’. In the DCA a panel of experts in flight operations, air-worthiness, aviation and law leads the process. “The suitability assessment requires of the person to be, among others, competent and he or she must be a person of integrity, and he or she is also required to have an unblemished (clean) criminal record,” Elliott said.