Sunday, August 19, 2018 4:31 pm
The Management of Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) is poised to transform the Airport, which today, stands as the number one parastatal in the country. Here are the reasons
ABUBAKAR HASHIM/ Freetown
The Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) is currently undergoing rapid transformation of major facilities, including the runway, terminal building, luggage and cargo handling facilities including CCTV cameras, right from the tarmac on the aircraft’s arrival, onto passenger disembarkation, to the Sea Coach boat terminal, which is located a stone’s throw from the arrival hall.
These facilities, which are set standards by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), are currently in top grade at the airport.
This development has increased the number of fights and passengers into Sierra Leone. Currently, the country is recording an explosive increase in the number of flights, a far-cry from the civil war era and the ugly effects of Ebola.
Major international airlines that pulled out during the Ebola crisis are fully back in operation, with new entrants coming into operation with breath-taking vigour and style.
It is in recognition of these unique developments on-going at the SLAA that compelled the board of the famous and prestigious All Works of Life (AWOL) a non governmental and non partisan organisation to award the SLAA as the best parastatal for the year 2017, under the leadership of Idriss Fofanah.
Remarking on the award, Fofanah remarked that ‘‘ it was a recognition of the results of team work at the SLAA to meet these set international standards.’’
Today, pilots are at ease in landing and take off, due to up-dated navigational aids equipments installed at the airport.
The other reason why SLAA is today number 1 is the friendliness and hospitality of its employees and staff at the airport. Right on arrival, passengers are ushered into the country with the Sierra Leonean hospitality, known for decades as the hallmark gesture of the Sierra Leonean to the visitor. This friendliness is replicated on SLAA staff on arrivals, alongside immigration and customs personnel.
Another compelling reason why SLAA is on top as the leading government agency is the rapid terminal expansion facilities, secure handling of baggages and cargoes, right from the aircraft onto terminal disembarkation. The entire airport is on CCTV monitor to minimize pilferage or loss of items.
The Management of SLAA is focused on maintaining and expanding on these set standards as stipulated by ICAO. The present standards at the SLAA will pave way for new entrant airlines to increase flight frequencies into Sierra Leone.
SLAA has set a pace for other government agencies to follow, in line with President Bio’s commitment to reposition the country along a developmental trajectory, in line with the ‘‘new direction’’ policy of his administration.
In President Bio’s speech at the state opening of parliament, he spoke about a developmental aviation sector in line with the ‘‘new direction’’ philosophy of his government.
Though there are a few challenges at the SLAA, which are mainly logistics, the airport has grown strong and virile in meeting up set standards required for operational efficiency, set by ICAO.