Airfield to be expanded
Big plans in the pipeline
07 June 2021 | Local News
The Swakopmund airfield will not be relocated; instead it will be expanded.
The reason for this is that it is not only used for general travel, it also attracts tourists and thus boosts the town’s economy.
Town council debated the future of the airfield during the most recent council meeting after the idea of relocating it has been toyed with for years. This was also made clear in the structural plan proposed for the town. According to this plan, both the train station and the airfield on the north-eastern outskirts of the town should be relocated to provide new land for properties.
“The relocation of the airfield and terminal has been debated for a long time,” according to council documents. Amongst others, there are opinions that the town does not need an airport, especially since there is an existing “fun airfield” (known as China Town) where skydiving and other activities take place.
In addition, there are already paved fully fledged airports in the neighbouring towns of Arandis and Walvis Bay and thus another, modern airfield in Swakopmund cannot be justified.
“Council rejected these opinions and decided to expand the current airfield, since it can serve Swakopmund itself, as well as Wlotzkasbaken and Henties Bay,” council documents read.
Accordingly, council not only wants to tar the main runway, but also relocate the terminal building – which should not be “oversized” – to the southern border of the airfield. Furthermore, the fence around the airfield must be upgraded, while the existing hangars are to remain at the same location.
Although the expansion and modernization are described as expensive, this is “still cheaper than relocating the airfield”, because should the airfield be relocated, council will have to compensate all hangar owners financially, which would cost “around N$25 to N$30 million”.
“The relocation would not be beneficial for council,” the document states.
For this reason, council now wants to hire a specialist to revise the layout of the airfield. In addition, an aviation specialist is to meet with the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to determine the future possible licensing of the airfield.