WINDHOEK, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's flagship airport, the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) serving the capital city Windhoek, has reached limit concerning capacity and requires urgent expansion and upgrading to meet the demands of increased aircraft and passenger numbers, according to an official.
Namibia Airports Company (NAC) board chairman Leake Hangala confirmed this on Wednesday during a press briefing in Windhoek.
Hangala said to this end, NAC and the government has embarked upon an HKIA upgrading project currently estimated to cost 17.3 million U.S. dollars (245 million Namibia dollars) to ease congestion.
The exact time for the commencement of the upgrade project is not officially announced but the official revealed that a contractor is expected on site by March 2019.
"The upgrading project will include the revamp and modernizing of the check-in and departure halls, security screening points, arrival hall and luggage handling area. We will also take advantage of the upgrading to introduce latest advanced technologies and software systems related to self check-ins and screening," he said.
According to Hangala, the upgrade work will have minimal effect on the current airport operations which he noted will continue as usual and the funds for the temporary upgrades will come from NAC as well as other stakeholders.
"The old terminal, known as terminal one, currently only used for VIP movements will also form part of the work to be done so as to have a dedicated international departure and arrival terminal," he added.
Hangala said a local company, Kerry McNamara Architects has been appointed the leading architect consultant to work on the design of the project for the upgrade.
Namibia's current terminal building was constructed in 1985 to handle 250,000 passengers per year. At present the airport handles nearly a million passengers per annum, with the figures expected to rise as the country gains popularity as a tourist and business destination.