Monday, 5 June 2017

NAMIBIA: From Refueller To Airport Station Controller With Air Namibia

Air Namibia, the national carrier of Namibia would like to celebrate the life of Mr Martin Andreas, Air Namibia’s Station Controller at Ondangwa Airport.

Martin has been devoted to Air Namibia for close to four decades, and leaves a stable station behind as he enters his retirement on Friday, 31 March 2017.

From humble beginnings, Martin joined Air Namibia (Namib Air at that time) on 10 February 1978 as a Refueller for aircraft at Eros Airport. He was responsible for quality control of aircraft fuel before refuelling the aircraft.

I had to make sure that the fuel is not mixed with water before refuelling.

When fuel for aircraft has been transported, it needs to be stable for a while before refuelling, to ensure that dirt and unwanted substances remain at the bottom of the container, while clean oil emerges at the top,” he explained his entry position at the national airliner.

Three years later, in 1981, Martin was transferred to the workshop division, working as an Engineer Assistant. He was primarily responsible for maintenance of jet engines, replacement of jet tyres and greasing of jet bearings. He served in this position for two years, before he was reassigned back to be a Refueller. Apart from being a Refueller,

Martin was also responsible for training and mentoring new Refueller trainees mainly on how to test the quality of jet fuel before refuelling. He held this position for 4 years, from 1983 till early 1987.

A highlight in his career that Martin will always keep close to his heart was when he was appointed as Petrol Station Manager for fuelling jetliners’ in mid-October 1987.

This appointment meant that he had to be transferred to Oshakati in Oshana region.I was very delighted with this appointment, as I was entrusted with more responsibilities that are very critical to the daily management of the national airline. It was also a great opportunity to reunite with my family in the north, he proudly said.

It was in April 1994 when Martin was appointed as the Station Manager for Ondangwa Airport, after the airliners offices moved from Oshakati to Ondangwa earlier that year.

He served in this position up until his retirement. His day to day work is to oversee the smooth running of the station, making sure that flights depart on the scheduled time and daily work, including managing staff under his wing.

As Martin reflects on 39 years of his time at Air Namibia, he recalls various developments that took place at the national airline. I have seen Air Namibia growing from small company to a bigger and better company over the years,he narrated.

He continued, When I started in 1978, the company was known as South West Airways, and later renamed Namib Air the very same year. Following Namibia’s independence in 1990, Namib Air was renamed Air Namibia.

In the early years, Air Namibia only had 4 small aircrafts: a 5 seater, 8 seater, 22 seater and the biggest being a 55 seater aircraft. Today, Air Namibia boasts a fleet of 10 aircrafts operating nationally, regionally and internationally.

Advocate Mandi Samson, Air Namibia’s Acting Managing Director described Martin as a humble leader who serves customers with a sense of humility, selflessness and commitment.

Martin’s attention to detail, while keeping the broader picture in mind, has been invaluable. His willingness to put in extra time and effort to complete tasks within deadlines has demonstrated commitment to achieve excellence.

During his career, he acquired valuable skills in the aviation field through countless training courses and workshops. Martin narrates, For 39 years I worked at Air

Namibia, I have gone through multiple training courses; from Airport operation training to ground handling, aircraft loading and other supervisory trainings.

Although I have been empowered over the years, I am a firm believer that information needs to be shared for the smooth running of the business. To that effect, I have been able to successfully impart the experience, knowledge and skills I have gained over the years to my colleagues,he specified.

Joining the aviation industry at a youthful age of 21 and spending most of his lifetime at Air Namibia, Martin said that he will always be grateful and indebted to Air Namibia for being part of his life. Filled with mixed feelings, he said: Although this employment has occupied most of my life, it has empowered me to be a responsible manager, mentor and friend.

I have acquired business acumen skills, invaluable experience and of course, I have been able to provide for my family. In a nutshell, this opportunity has made me a better person in life.

In his final words, Martin said: I will miss my Air Namibia family, more especially my colleagues at Ondangwa, and the friends I have made over the years. But closer to the heart, I will miss the beautiful landing and taking off of our aircraft.

As I go on retirement, I would like to wish the company all the best with its current and future plans.

Adv. Samson extended words of appreciation to Mr Martin on behalf of the national airline; Air Namibia would like to extend our best wishes to Martin in his new endeavours. Martin will be greatly missed by the passengers and colleagues alike.

We have all benefited from his hands on proactive approach and management style. Air Namibia wishes Martin a happy retirement.