Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:16 pm
The Sierra Leone Airports Authority came into existence by an Act of Parliament and is responsible for the supervision and management of all airports facilities in Sierra Leone. Its contribution to Sierra Leone’s economic recovery and growth cannot be overemphasized as the airport is at the forefront of the nation’s economic recovery program as a gateway into the country for economic and other purposes, geared towards national development.
In striving to achieve the overall objective of the government in placing Sierra Leone on the trajectory of development, the airport authority has implemented the following to boost operations, attract more businesses and people into the country in order to enhance economic activities.
REDUCTION OF AIRPORT CHARGES
In a bid to make our airport attractive in the industry, we have reduced taxes. In all, 35% has been reduced as follows: Passenger Service Charges from $40 to $25, Infrastructure Development Charge from $10 to $5, and Landing Charge has been reduced by 34%. This is to attract more airlines and other service providers to our airport. In the case of airlines, this will attract them and make travelling cheaper for our people and visitors to Sierra Leone. This move will help our touristic sector and create more jobs for our compatriots. These reductions have made the Lungi Airport a very traveler- friendly destination. We are anticipating an increase in both passenger and airline turnover. With this, other businesses in the hospitality industry will increase in size and profits thereby generating the much needed revenue for the State.
UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY
Power supply is the heart beat of airport management, as all equipment used for the smooth operations (including security) of the airport is driven by power. Intermittent power outages result to defective machines like: conveyor belts, CCTV cameras, computers etc. To mitigate this effect, we have purchased and installed a 1.1 megawatts generator to boost our power generation at the airport. This has helped a sustained and reliable power balance throughout our operations. Additionally, a 650 megawatts generator has been promised by the government. These two generators will at all times ensure that we have a complete and uninterrupted power supply at the airport.
PROCUREMENT OF NEW FIRE ENGINES
Key in aviation is Fire Safety management. To meet the safety requirements of our airport, we have added to our firefighting arsenal two brand new fire engines to boost our preparedness not only for the airport but within the community. In a week’s time from now, a new and sophisticated fire engine – the Panther Fire Tender will be in the country from Austria to be added to our firefighting fleet. This will project the image of our airport within the industry and encourage more airlines to fly in.
APEX SAFETY ASSESSMENT
The Sierra Leone Airports Authority has just concluded an Apex Safety Assessment Excellent review of the Freetown International Airport. This review comes in the wake of an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Audit between 22nd and 26th August 2019. This exercise was undertaken by Airport Council International to ascertain the safety level and preparedness of our airport for the airport certification audit by ICAO as aforementioned. The scores were impressive and show that our airport is safe and up to global standards and international best practices.
UNIVERSAL SAFETY OVERSIGHT AUDIT PROGRAMME (USOAP) AUDIT (ICAO) ON SIERRA LEONE AVIATION SECURITY SYSTEMS
August, 2019 witnessed an audit from the global aviation regulation body – the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO audits airports around the world, certifies and places them into categories which will determine the level of global patronage the airport will receive within the industry. Civil aviation insurers pay close attention on the reports of various airports as it will determine premium to be levied on airlines operating in a particular airport. If an airport under performs in the audit, it may not be certified. This in turn means that the premium on airlines risking operations in that airport will increase. And this burden will be borne by the passengers. Some airlines will also cease operations that will not only affect the travelling public in and out of the country adversely but will also dwindle the most needed revenue for national economic development.
ORGANISED A SEAMLESS HAJJ TRIP
The Sierra Leone Airports Authority was at the forefront of organizing a seamless facilitation of over 900 Sierra Leonean pilgrims to the Holy Land of Mecca for this year’s pilgrimage. The airport played host to pilgrims and their well-wishers. The Management, staff and Public Relations Department were very instrumental in seeing that we secured a successful trip for pilgrims. For many pilgrims, it was their first time using the airport and members of our staff were at hand to ensure that they were comfortable throughout their stay until they left our shores. The Airport supporting staff provided the best hospitality to the pilgrims for the 2019 Hajj journey to the holy land, making the exercise hitch free and successful
The Sierra Leone Airports Authority remains a catalyst in the development of the country and committed to ensuring that the government succeeds in its overall objectives.