Government of Sierra Leone explores development of domestic air travel

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 August 2020:

Last Friday,  Senior officials at the Sierra Leone Civil Authority (SLCAA), the Ministry of Transport and Aviation (MTA), and the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning (MLHCP) held discussions with key decision-makers in the city of Bo, southern Sierra Leone about the introduction of domestic commercial flights in the country, after visiting the disused Bo airstrip which is being considered for the resumption of domestic flights.

Ministers say that the resumption of domestic flight operations in Sierra Leone will contribute immensely to the development of the country’s tourism industry.

Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Sadiq Silla said that the primary purpose of their meeting in Bo, was to engage community leaders and have a consensus on the way forward for the reclamation of the Bo airstrip for the reactivation of domestic air operations in Sierra Leone.

From the industry’s perspective, the Director-General of the Sierra Leone Civil Authority (SLCAA), Moses Tiffa Baio spoke about President Julius Maada Bio’s vision  to build an economically viable civil aviation system that would be effective, efficient, competitive and sustainable.

In order to achieve this and make Sierra Leone an aviation hub in West Africa, he said there should be an increase in air connectivity, especially domestic flight operations, that would facilitate the movement of people, goods, and services within the country.

“Our airports, whether local or international, should be preserved as priceless national assets. Air transport operation brings development and steady growth in a country. Reviving these domestic airstrips will be a great gain not only for the government, especially in the area of boosting tourism, but also for the people of Sierra Leone, especially in providing alternative form of transportation to the road networks,” the Director-General said.

Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Dennis Sandy said: “We have come a long way in restoring dignity in the land tenure arrangements of Sierra Leone. Since 2018, the Bo Airstrip and Reservation have become the property of the government and encroachers have been compensated. Sustainable development projects require a collaborative approach and that approach must be reflective of the nation’s interest,” he said.

Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Kallon, said that Sierra Leone is one of the few countries that are not conducting domestic flight operations. He mentioned that his ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some aviation companies who have expressed interest to revive domestic air operations in Sierra Leone.

He noted, however, that the challenge is on reclaiming the respective airstrips from encroachers. He concluded by noting that relocation of airstrips would be difficult as many factors would need to be taken into consideration, especially in meeting the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Standards and Recommended Practices.

Paramount Chief of Tikonko Chiefdom raised concern about the neglect of the airstrip over the past two decades and admitted that the Authorities responsible for protecting the airstrip had been weak in enforcing the law to prevent encroachers from embarking on massive construction.

He further advised that those who have been compensated should be re-engaged and the development of the airstrip should also go ahead without any further delay.

After the engagement, the team inspected the Bo Airfield at Torwama in the presence of the Paramount Chiefs of Tikonko and Kakua Chiefdom, the Resident Minister South, the Ministry of Local Governments and Rural Development and erected a security post to prevent further encroachment.

16 Comments

  1. For sure. There was flight from Hasting to Bo, Kenema and Kono in the 80th. Proving this sevice again will help businessmen and tourists to visit those Areas. Good planning. May God bless the President of this great nation.

  2. There we go again another delaying ticktic because they know their time is up. Sierra Leoneans are not fools any more even the ones in the smallest villages are wiser now so just put your empty promises in your pockets. People are suffering in Sierra Leone, instead you go killing people of Sierra Leone for common machine and adding more pain to the poor mothers and fathers of that nation.

  3. Big head ministers with empty heads. The people need train not another airport. God help mama salone.

  4. Again, I believe this domestic air travel project is absolutely nonsense. In a small country like sierra leone who will use it? Only politicians, upper class, business people, and may be some tourists. For me as a tourist, I never would go by flight inside a country for you will get no contact with the people and the area. So, it would be better for sierra leone to develop the railway expansion.

  5. Hastings airport is not in a very bad condition and it should be upgraded to become an airport for regional flights. Also Government should look into the possibilities of reintroducing Helicopter services from Lungi to Freetown and to other districts, and we really do not need a five star airport for Helicopter landing and take off.

  6. Selfish idea! How many people are going to use the airstrips at Tinkoko and Kanye? Dear Mr Kabineh Kallon why are you not coming up with brilliant projects that the masses can use and benefit from in a long time. Please concentrate on making train line across the country whilst building the bridge at Lungi. I have outlined something you can read since your assistant and people around you seem not to be coming up with salient suggestions. Get a cheap single track railway system for now that can be carrying people and goods around the country. Please hurry.

    Train systems are fast reliable and not difficult to operate. Stop this aviation wahala for now. Sierra Leone doesn’t need it yet. It is a brilliant waste of resources unless it is for your personal use to be dashing in and out of your homeland trying to copy the selfishness of EBK. Thank you for reading.

  7. This is ill advised and just an ego trip. Sierra Leone is too small with greater capacity needs in the form of attendant infrastructure you embark on air travel development. This is a poverty stricken country and to develop you need basic infrastructure before proceeding to a wish list. Give people easy access through roads,enhance the supply chains.
    The question is how much capacity will the air travel generate,and what percentage of the population will it affect directly. Think mass upward mobility vs a narrowed gap access.

  8. Hahahaha, hate or love them, but these POAPA politicians are addicted to spending time in cloud cuckoo land dreaming big albeit the lack of substance therein. Like a toad who suddenly found itself in an open dry land, they kept jumping from one humongous project that requires massive capital to realize to another without ever making headways from the last. Whatever happen to our nicely design, beautiful, well polish, Lungi bridge?

    The impulses of selfish politics and unpatriotism get the best of these gang of crooks, cancelling the mamamah airport project which would have elevated our nation when it comes to civil aviation. Like the newly constructed ultra modern international airports in Ghana, the Mamamah airport would have designated our nation as an aviation hub within the Mano River Union. Disappointingly, these day dreamers have opted to roam around tirelessly in decades old abandon air fields, which revivals will first required a robust commercial flight existence within our nation.

  9. That’s the kind of development which ticks all the appropriate boxes and creation of jobs, new skills, trainingand business opportunities, tourism including helping to enhance credible supply chain possibilities. A step in the right direction if it really happens!!

  10. Minister of Transport and civil Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Kallon, alluded to the facts, every living Sierra Leoneans is aware of, that we don’t have domestic flights. Thanks for reminding us. At least someone in government is aware of it. It won’t surprise us, if You come up with another statement that says you are only reintroducing domestic flights because every government minister is entitled to a private jet. The SUVs will get damaged by our bad roads. At the end of the day, when it comes to real developments that serve JOE AVERAGE in the street, your government have shown little or no interest in that.

    If you’ve announced your government is embarking on a road building exercise that connects the country as a whole,it would be a welcome development. This domestic flight revival will only serve you the corrupt political elite, not the every day family that have to put their lives at risks, to travel on our public transportation systems that is endemic with road accidents due to the state of our roads.

    And in reviving this air strip, communities living around the area will suffer the double whammy of government seizure of lands without any compensation. And since the judiciary is rigged, they will never get the justice they deserve. It won’t come as a surprise to me, your government is only doing this to avoid the state of our roads. It is too uncomfortable for HONOURABLE MINISTERS.

  11. Indeed. Little by little, Jack of all Trades and Master of None is stuck in the economic and political mess. Is the Lungi Bridge, the ultra modern diagnostic center and the MIT equivalent technical university in Kono District now history? What a shame. God help the Malama Airport Project’s revival after 2023. See you soon ladies and gentlemen

    • The Lungi bridge project? Well these dullards had to throw that away into the trash bins of abject despair because it was just another delusional dream;an ill-advised scheme it was,resembling a shimmering mirage that was completely wrapped up in flimsy impracticable ideas only naive gullible little children could ever believe in.And here they go again,on the road again with empty brains striving in vain in search of witless gain;(lol) A bunch of whiners,freeloaders and crybabies on another whacked-out mission impossible that may end up binding and shackling them again from head to toe with countless daunting challenges and responsibilities they are quite unable to cope with,because this is simply not something that is easily feasible,sensible and doable at all.

      Ask them when was the last time the forgotten neglected airfield in Bo was maintained or rehabilitated and they will have no sensible answers to give but to bombard you with a barrage of empty boastful rhetoric that comes from being schooled and indoctrinated by SLPP leaders whose role is to emphasize and promote nothing but pointless unavailing tribal logic.

  12. Sorry for -the long delay due to COVID-19. Domestic flight is very important in Sierra Leone. This will somehow create fast movement of goods as well as people and business in the country. Little by little things are improving in the country.

    • Indeed tell them,sierra leaneans we have very bad mind towards the country development, how on earth Allah(SAW) will put blessing in this country when everything is political.

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