The Minister of Transport and Aviation Leonard Balogun Koroma, has on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, Thursday May 15, 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 three countries had been hampered by long and cumbersome connections or two days travel by road. Minister Koroma went on to state that this long awaited direct connection will facilitate trade and tourism between the three countries as Sierra Leoneans and Gambians also have strong family ties.
The minister further disclosed that the day is a historical one for civil aviation in the country because under his leadership, he has received three Inaugural flights in five 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.
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.
Koroma admonished the airline to pay attention to effective fleet management, reasonable fares and excellent customer service.
The minister also impressed on the airline the need 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 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.