The Ministry of Transport and Aviation and the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority have launched a safe fund project at Lungi Airport in Freetown. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Aviation, said, “Today, the ICAO safe fund project for Sierra Leone will be launched, but the question from us Sierra Leoneans is, how sustainable it will last?” Director General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority, Moses Tiffa Baio, elaborated on some key issues like the State of Aviation Activities: Passenger traffic – 200,000 Per Annum (PA), Aircraft Departure – 1515 -PA, Traffic Distribution: Passenger traffic inbound and outbound – 100,000 – PA, International Departures – 1515(100) – PA and Regional Departures – 1,251 (83%) – PA. Biao said Sierra Leone was audited in 2006 by ICOA under the universal safety oversight audit program (USAOAP). The outcome of this audit indicated that Sierra Leone had deficiencies in all the eight critical elements of the State Safety Oversight System.
The aftermath of the ICAO USOAP showed the 15% Effective Implementation (EI), safety concerns were raised by ICAO which led to the cancellation/withdrawal of all Air Operator Certificates (AOC), de-registration of all aircraft and the European Union blacklisted all Sierra Leonean registered aircraft. Sierra Leone is ranked 43/46 in RASG-AFI with respect to overall effective implementation.
Within this group, 52.17% have reached the target of 60% EL with an average EL of 51%. Sierra Leone rates below the average of RASG-AFI. He continued to lament on the safe fund to assist Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority safety deficiencies and strengthen safety oversight capabilities in a sustainable manner.
The Government of Sierra Leone is targeting the certification of the Freetown International Airport by the end of 2020 and to also meet the Abuja Safety target of El 60% by 2020. The Regional Director, ICAO WACAF, highlighted some of the problems that are affecting Sierra Leone Aviation and the solutions.
Africa only accounts for 4% on Global Air Transportation. Out of 108+ International Airports in Africa, not more than 30% are certified. There’s work to be done.