Executive Director's Office
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Following the establishment of the NCAA by way of the Civil Aviation Act (Act 6 of 2016), we firmly continued and accelerated the organic growth of the institution on the path we embarked on during the previous year. The first-ever substantive appointments of personnel to the NCAA only began in July 2019, increasing to an impressive number of 154 by the end of the period under review. The protracted process of recruitment of the specialised personnel required to give effect to our mandate - also from the international market - is continuing, with the goal of reaching a full staff complement of just over 200, as outlined in the Board approved organisational structure.
But the process of recruitment does not stand in isolation: induction, training and retention of personnel based on various policies, which had to be drafted and approved were put in place, all to finally arrive at the goal of growing and establishing a world-class civil aviation authority.
Progress can also be proudly reported on the infrastructure and IT sections: numerous laptops, screens and examination computers have been rolled out, supported by state-of-the-art software and an increase in server capacity. Online Pilot examinations can now be conducted locally, negating the need for crew members to travel abroad to undergo examinations.
In addition, the long-awaited furniture tender has been completed and all offices have been refurbished. Overall, a quantum leap in achieving the envisaged organic growth!
With this systematic approach and process of capacitating, progress and achievements are inevitable. During the ICAO General Assembly in October 2019, Namibia received the ICAO Council’s President Certificate in recognition of its efforts in resolving aviation security and oversight deficiencies and for its ongoing commitment to the effective implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
Notwithstanding the positive growth, structural and operational challenges continued to place strain on our resources. The Instrument Flight Procedures for Hosea Kutako and Walvis Bay International Airports were found to be procedurally flawed and had to be withdrawn, redesigned and published only a few months later. This, not without great expense and inconvenience to the flying industry.
In the absence of promulgated legislation, many a directive or special approval (e.g. Foreign Operator Permits) had to be released to accommodate specific industry requests.
Financial constraints amongst stakeholders impacted negatively on the NCAA’s operations, adding to the challenges in growing the Authority and in fulfilling its fiduciary obligations.
The Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is scheduled to take place in October 2020 and preparations are in full swing to achieve a score above the world average. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown regulations in Namibia have undoubtedly added to the woes of the NCAA, by demanding a diversion of resources and mental capacity desperately needed to timeously prepare for the said audit. This, in itself, poses the biggest single challenge in the history of the NCAA.
The New Norm
In addition, COVID-19 has brought instant and permanent changes to the world of aviation. Changes that will require a paradigm shift from the traditional way of managing the complex nature of the industry, identifying, quantifying and adapting to what can safely be called the ‘new norm’ in the aviation industry. Only those role players who successfully managed to conquer this divide will be part of the aviation industry to come.
The Ultimate Goal
To be a worldclass civil aviation authority delivering on its own agreed Service Charter and Service Standards remains the ultimate goal for the NCAA. The process of growth and development towards this goal needs to be clear, focused and dedicated, with each employee and stakeholder passionately embracing and committing to the same ideal and vision. The process is never-ending and ever-demanding.
Strong leadership, on all levels, is therefore of paramount importance.
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
01 JUN 2019 - 30 NOV 2020
Cementing our Foundation
This, our first Annual Report, covering the 17-months period since the establishment of the NCA A on 1 November 2016, is an opportunity to report on how our Board and Management have sought to meet our Shareholder Minister’s expectations. The NCAA’s central role is to ensure the safety of passengers and crew, ground personnel and aircraft in flight. Alongside this central role, we seek to support national economic growth, improved productivity and to operate within a sound and sustainable financial framework, providing value for money for our users and Namibia as a whole.
At a Glance
Today, 25 Aircraft Air Operators (three large-sized and the rest General Aviation) and six Foreign Aircraft Operators (KLM, Qatar, South African Airways, South African Express/AirLink, Ethiopian Airline, Condor Air which is now replaced by EuroWings) fall under our mandate. A total of 632 aircraft are on the aircraft registry which the NCAA regulates, together with a total of 14 locally-registered Aircraft Maintenance Approval holders and 26 Aircraft Maintenance Organisations. Air passengers are reaching record levels, with roughly 2 million inter-national, regional and domestic passengers flying into and around Namibia during the review period. All international air travel partners predict that international air traffic will double in the next 15 years, while the African continent also continues to grow at a rate of six per cent per year, which is, after Asia, the fastest growing air transport market.
While we operate within the frame-work of clear international conven-tions, we have to place these rules within the context of in a country with a land-size area of 825,615 square kilometres with only 7,300 overflights and 8,800 international passenger flight arrivals per annum. This is an unenviable background to what the market can bear by way of payments to the NCAA as Namibia’s regulator. At the same time, the international operational environment is constant-ly changing, impacting on Namibia’s aviation industry.
Establishment of the Legislation Framework
Our progress has been very pleasing with the simultaneous promulgation of the legal framework and establish-ment of the authority within the Civil Aviation Act No. 6 of 2016. Its promul-gation closed a very significant concern raised during successive ICAO Audits with the repeal of the Civil Aviation amended Act of 1998. Our Effective Implementation (EI) score currently stands at 60.57 per cent, since the International Conso-lidated Verification Mission (ICVM) carried out back in 2014 has been maintained during the period under review. (See Section 3.)The new and comprehensive Nami-bian Civil Aviation Regulations of 2017 have now addressed the key areas that have held us back to date. The creation of a legal unit within the then DCA and appointment of two nationals working alongside and ICAO Air Law Expert has also enabled us to
anticipate the changes that will come with the newly introduced Standards and Recommended Practices. This has helped to reduce the workload on the Legal Drafters within the Ministry of Justice. Industry can be assured that the next set of Namibian Civil Aviation Regulations will adequately cover all the Annexes of the Chicago Convention, and be tailored to Namibia’s specific needs. The improved staffing and recruitment autonomy that we have reached has enabled the NCAA to strike a healthy balanced approach to oversight than was previously the case.
Risk-based Performance Approach
While air transport is considered the safest of all forms of transport, threat levels to air safety from many unlawful sources are constantly growing in volume and complexity. The airline industry is highly competitive, particularly in relation to cutting costs; an unsatisfactory spin-off is the increasing mental health challenges reported across the value chain of this industry after they caused lost of lives and destruction of the environment. At a local level, the customer satisfaction survey we carried out between last and this year highlighted a number of areas where we need to improve our service and offer our customers what they rightly expect. All this places an increasing demand on the NCAA to adopt even better risk-based management performance approaches to anticipate threats to safety. To meet these challenges, we have adopted a risk-based performance approach in surveillance. This means using smart approaches in terms of when and how far we go to ensure resources are adequately pro vided and matched with the skill and competencies required to provide services for aircraft registered in Nami-bia wherever they operate, and to only carry out ramp inspections on Foreign Operators in Namibia.This is a clear break from the past and a cost effective approach to doing business differently.
We are still behind in terms of the ideal inspector ratio, but our range of oversight activities have improved and have moved slowly from a largely self-regulating industry to a situation where local operators have access to the safety advisory services that every civil aviation authority should be capable of giving to the public and participants in the aviation system. The journey from the former DCA within the Ministry of Works and Transport to an autonomous public enterprise has improved our scope of oversight capability and has increased the demand on our services. This capability becomes particularly important where public facilities and infrastructure have reached limits where we as a regulator have to render advice to ensure a safe operation without assuming the Operators respon-sibility. Thus, we have provided the professional services of our ICAO Project’s highly experienced Air Navigation Safety Expert to assist the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) with the establishment of the Airport Runway Management Teams, to manage the safety risk associated with ope-rations within the airport. While this is an activity of the NAC, we had to be proactive as many inspections and follow-up inspections confirmed it is clear that the operator’s risk assessments had limitations due to the lack of a critical mass of operational staff to address new and emerging risks.
In summary, I believe that the NCAA has addressed the mandate that it was given 17 months ago with vigour, wisdom and enthusiasm. I want to publicly thank the Board for the leadership that it has offered, and my team for their energy, skill and commitment. There is still a lot to be done, but it is clear that together we can make Namibian airspace as safe as the standards our international partners, the Government as well as the Namibian people require of us.
01 NOV 2016 - 28 MAY 2019