From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone News : First Direct Flight from Sierra Leone to Banjul and Dakar Lands at Lungi International Airport
By Jeneba V. Kabba
May 16, 2017, 17:04

Minister of Transport and Aviation, Honourable Leonard Balogun Koroma, has on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, on Monday 15th May at the Lungi International Airport received the first direct flight in THREE YEARS from Sierra Leone to Banjul, The Gambia and Dakar, Senegal.


This is the third Inaugural flight to Sierra Leone in 5 months.


In his remarks, the minister recalled that the last direct flight between Sierra Leone and The Gambia and Senegal was on 15th August, 2014 in the wake of the Ebola crisis. In those 3 years, the minister continued, travel between the 3 countries had been hampered by long and cumbersome connections or 2days travel by road. Mr Leonard Balogun went on to state that this long awaited direct connection will facilitate trade and tourism between the 3 countries as Sierra Leoneans and Gambians also have strong family ties.

Fly mid Africa at lungi Int. Airport.

The minister further disclosed that the day is a historical one for Civil Aviation in the country because under his leadership, he has received 3 Inaugural flights in 5 months as follows;


December 20th , 2016 - Medview Airlines based in Lagos , Nigeria;

March 26th , 2017 - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines;

May 15th , 2017 - Fly Mid Africa based in Banjul, The Gambia.


Hon. Leonard Balogun Koroma maintained that this spate of new flights coming into the country is a clear demonstration of confidence in the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC as well as his leadership at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation which has witnessed significant achievements in ground transportation, aviation, maritime and road safety sectors in his 3 years at the helm.


Mr. Koroma admonished the airline to pay attention to effective fleet management, reasonable fares and excellent customer service.


The Minister also impressed on the airline to appoint Sierra Leonean flight attendants on their flights and to also introduce at least one Sierra Leonean dish as per the vision of the Local Content Policy.


The Minister further encouraged the airline to consider direct flights to London via Banjul, The Gambia in a special arrangement with the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority.


According to the Aviation minister, more new airlines are expected as he is in talks with Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Air Trans and Air Mauritania.


The Managing Director of mid Africa Aviation Company, Bakary Nyssi said the company is a child necessity because for far too long Air travel in and around West Africa has been an unimaginable nightmare and exist as a company to put an end to this nightmare. He added that Fly mid Africa is a Gambian registered Airline company licensed as an Air operator on 10th August 2015 with the aim to develop a new passengers Airline.


He went to say that until now, Air services connectivity within Anglophone West Africa is almost non-existent. He said the main destinations for airline for time being are: Banjul, Accra, Freetown, Dakar, Monrovia and Lagos and plans are already at an advanced stage to connect in due course Francophone West African destinations including Conakry and Abidjan.


He added that over the years, they have seen a high mortality rate of airline companies in the sub-region, folding up almost as soon as they take off to the skies.


He said this has naturally led to a great deal of cynicism about the sustainability of a new airline thereby compelling the travelling public and service providers alike to not hesitate early association with new airline ventures.

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