Sierra Leone Scours Advancement about the Overture of Domestic Commercial Flights in the West Africa Nation
By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone– August 7th, 2020, geriatric administrators at the Sierra Leone Civil Authority (SLCAA), the Ministry of Transport and Aviation (MTA), and the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning (MLHCP) wielded meetings with key decision-makers in Sierra Leone’s second capital city of Bo, Southern Sierra Leone about the opening of domestic commercial flights in the country, after touring the defunct Bo airstrip which is being deemed for the resumption of domestic flights.
Ministers say that, the resumption of domestic flight operations in Sierra Leone will support enormously to the growth of the country’s Tourism Industry. Sadiq Silla – Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation let out that, the main objective of their seminar in Bo was to commit town leaders and have an agreement on the way forward for the reclamation of the Bo airstrip for the reactivation of domestic air operations in Sierra Leone. And from the industry’s viewpoint, the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Civil Authority (SLCAA) – Moses Tiffa Baio talked about President Julius Maada Bio’s concept to create an economically viable civil aviation system that would be effective, efficient, competitive and sustainable. In addition, in order to attain this and make Sierra Leone an aviation center in West Africa, he said there should be an improvement in air connectivity, especially domestic flight operations, that would promote the movement of people, goods, and services within the country.
“Our airports, whether local or international, should be preserved as priceless national assets. Air transport operation brings development and steady growth in a country. Reviving these domestic airstrips will be a great gain not only for the government, especially in the area of boosting tourism, but also for the people of Sierra Leone, especially in providing alternative form of transportation to the road networks,” the Director-General noted.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Dennis Sandy said: “We have come a long way in restoring dignity in the land tenure arrangements of Sierra Leone. Since 2018, the Bo Airstrip and Reservation have become the property of the government and encroachers have been compensated. Sustainable development projects require a collaborative approach and that approach must be reflective of the nation’s interest,” he remarked.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Kallon, said that Sierra Leone is one of the few nations that are not conducting domestic flight operations. He mentioned that his ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some aviation companies who have affirmed interest to modernize domestic air operations in Sierra Leone. He noted, that the challenge is on redeeming the respective airstrips from encroachers. He concluded by noting that relocation of airstrips would be difficult as many factors would need to be taken into reference, particularly in meeting the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Standards and Recommended Practices.
Paramount Chief of Tikonko Chiefdom lifted up concern about the delinquency of the airstrip over the past two decades and admitted that the Authorities accountable for conserving the airstrip had been soft in executing the law to stave off encroachers from undertaking on tremendous building. He urged further that, those who have been reimbursed should be re-engaged and the development of the airstrip should also go ahead without any further delay.
After the engagement, the team examined the Bo Airfield at Torwama in the presence of the Paramount Chiefs of Tikonko and Kakua Chiefdom, the Resident Minister South, the Ministry of Local Governments and Rural Development and lifted up a security post to prevent further encroachment.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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