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Aviation Scare as Weather Computers Break Down
[January 16, 2009]

Aviation Scare as Weather Computers Break Down

Windhoek, Jan 16, 2009 (Namibia Economist/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --
Officials at the Meteorological Services in the Ministry of Works and Transport have denied reports that computers at the weather forecast station in Windhoek have been down since Tuesday this week thereby putting air travellers using Eros Airport and the Hosea Kutako International Airport at risk.

A well-informed source told the Economist that the breaking down of the computers posed a serious threat to bigger planes on international flights, which need intelligence on weather conditions in their destinations before taking off.

But officials at the weather station said the computer problem did not warrant a crisis.
"At the moment, we don't have a problem," said Jennifer Moetie, Control Meteorological Technician.
She said, although one computer was not working properly and had been taken for repair, this did not constitute a problem.

"Besides, we work with Eros Airport, and if there is a problem at Hosea Kutako, the same weather conditions can be obtained at Eros.

Another senior official at the station, who did not want to be named, said no computers were needed to forecast the weather.

"We can do this by hand," he said. "We use many tools. Computers are not the only tools we use."
He however said the station referred to "many international websites".
"We also use the South African weather hubs, which gave us accurate information," he said.
This week an official from the Africa Civil Aviation Agency (AFRO-ACCA) expressed concern about the shortcomings in aviation in Namibia.

AFRO ACCA's Chief Operations Officer, Harry Eggerschwiler, told journalists that he was worried about the aviation industry and warned that if no urgent steps were taken, a "big accident" was on the cards. He said air travel safety standards in Namibia were going down.

The country's aviation industry lacks qualified staff, money and proper surveillance systems such as radar.

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