Use nearby landing strips during closure of Ondangwa Airport

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Windhoek

With the closure of the runway at the Ondangwa Airport from December 20, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) is advising that in case of emergencies pilots consider utilising as alternatives the landing strips at Eenhana, Ruacana, Outapi and Tsumeb.

Work on the runway would take 40 days, starting December 20 to January 29, 2016. This is for the construction of the central part of the 513-metre runway, in accordance with the width slopes and pavement detail specified and the difference in elevation between the runway part rehabilitated and the one to be constructed.

“Hence it is impossible to maintain operations, as no runway length will be available,” read the statement issued by the NAC yesterday. The airports company says the runway at Ondangwa airport has aged and presents safety risks, hence the closure for reconstruction and extension.

“The airport runway has developed cracks in various areas, including soft patches, pop-outs, distortions, loss of material and water infiltration, which present a safety hazard to aircraft operating to and from Ondangwa airport. It has been raised as safety concern by Air Namibia and the aviation regulator, Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA),” the statement said.

NAC appointed Aurecon as consulting engineers to prepare the necessary technical and tender documentation for the identification of a technical solution and the selection of suitable contractor for the rehabilitation of the runway. China State Construction and Engineering Company was appointed as contractor.

Aurecon presented several options for access to the Ondangwa Airport during construction and the most feasible one was to construct in phases.

Phase Zero involved the remedial work on the first 1 000 metre portion east of the new threshold to allow a runway length sufficient for the operations of the largest aircraft, the Embraer (E135), which requires 1 650 m length of runway for landing and take-off at Ondangwa Airport.

The total runway length is 2 987 metres, but with the upgrading of the runway it has been shortened to 1.66 km. Phase 1A, currently underway, includes the reconstruction of the 1 237 metre western portion of the runway, in accordance with the width, slopes and pavement detail specified, as well as the installation of runway edge lights, threshold and runway end lights.

The terminal building will be open to the public during the construction of the runway, with only the car rentals operational.

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