JG Afrika recently developed an Airport Pavement Management System (APMS) for Namibia Airports Company (NAC). This is the first comprehensive inventory and description of all NAC’s airside paved assets, and a step taken towards the development of a larger Integrated Infrastructure Asset Management System.
Led by Dr Emile Horak, JG Afrika undertook a visual assessment of all eight airports in 2017. The draft format of the report, which describes the condition of the paved assets, was concluded at the end of 2017.
NAC has eight airports under its operational control, with Hosea Kutako International Airport, situated 48 km from the capital, Windhoek, serving as the gateway into Namibia. The medium-size Eros Airport, located within Windhoek city, accommodates smaller aircrafts, and regional flights are also undertaken from the Walvis Bay International Airport.
Of the other five regional aerodromes, only Luderitz operates successfully as a fit-for-purpose airport. The remainder, situated at Ondangwa, Katima Mulio, Rundu and Keetmanshoop, were originally built by the South African military under the previous dispensation and are now used by the Namibian government for commercial purposes. However, the landside and airside infrastructure provided by military operations are not adequate for commercial use, despite low air traffic movement and passenger numbers.
It is an ongoing challenge for the NAC to maintain these ex-military airports as viable commercial operations without incurring significant upgrading costs, even as they face substantial maintenance backlogs.
To this end, JG Afrika produced a draft Policy and Management of Airport Pavement Maintenance document for NAC. It motivates the acceptance of the policy and the continued development and use of the APMS.
This is in addition to a minimum service level classification. It is in line with the Civil Aviation Organisation Aerodrome classification system that provides trigger values and best practice benchmarks for maintenance and rehabilitation for the various airports and their airside elements.
“Our report encourages the NAC to reduce the maintenance burden by bringing airside infrastructure in line with the civilian and commercial needs of the airport. This would necessitate ‘mothballing’ specified airside infrastructure, allowing the loss-leader airports to be managed more cost effectively,” says Dr Horak.
He adds that it has become international best practice for airport companies to develop and maintain APMS to appropriately reflect the full airside asset portfolio inventory, current condition assessment and projected or modelled future deterioration over time.
The APMS is run using Micro-PAVER software that features a Geographic Information System (GIS). It acts as an inventory that describes each surface element in exact detail regarding size and geo-referencing of typically simply defined polygons of each element or sub-element.
The Pavement Condition Index (PCI) rates the condition of the airside infrastructure and provides conceptual cost implications for various maintenance scenarios.
Mainly visual survey information is used by the APMS to produce a PCI rating for the entire network, individual airports, or their elements, including the taxiway, runway and apron.
JG Afrika’s report also strongly recommends that instrument surveys are to be done at regular intervals once the policy and maintenance procedures have been confirmed by the NAC.