Sierra Leone Aviation Safety Rated At 18.5%

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has estimated Sierra Leone’s aviation safety to 18.5%, which is far below the 60% threshold set by the ‘Abuja Safety Targets’.
During the 2019 State of the Nation’s address, President Julius Maada Bio told Members of Parliament that his Government has laid out a strategy to reverse what he refers to as the low compliance rate of Sierra Leone in terms of aviation safety, quoting figures from the ICAO report.
He identified the non enforcement of regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), attributing it to the lack of economic sustainability largely due to the fact that the Authority does not have the ability to generate revenue, which is backed up with other challenges such as low level of competency and capability.
The President disclosed that his Government has secured a US$500,000 from ICAO to establish an effective safety oversight system in Sierra Leone as well strengthen its safety oversight capabilities. He noted that this will envisage an increase of our safety ratings from 20% to the minimum target of 60% in line with the regional standards.
“A 60% compliance level will enable the state of Sierra Leone to fulfill its responsibilities under the Chicago and Montreal Conventions on International Air Transport in the areas of certification, licensing and surveillance with special emphasis in the areas of issuance of air operators certificates and the certification of Freetown International Airport Lungi,’’ the President disclosed.
President Bio concluded by dilating on a number of reforms and cooperation agreements with international Aviation bodies such as a technical cooperative agreement with the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Organization leading to the issuance of Air Operators certificates; another cooperative agreement with Airport Council International (ACI) the global body responsible for promoting excellence in airport operations, amongst others.
The New Direction Government has cancelled the Mamamah Airport City project that would cost the Government of Sierra Leone over three hundred million dollars. The APC government of former President Ernest Koroma sealed the contract in March,2018 few days to the 2018 elections. The aspirations of the project were to construct a new airport with a view to boost tourism and international trade.
The Bio Government, together with the International Monetary Fund, believes the Mamamah Airport Project was not timely as the country was still confronted with the economic challenges of the Ebola. The new administration preferred the expansion of the Lungi International Airport and the building of the Lungi Bridge. This, for them, will open up Lungi and further decongest Freetown. Feasibility studies have reportedly been completed.

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