As efforts to reopen Sierra Leone’s airspace to international flight operations become imminent, the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) have conducted gap assessment at the Freetown International Airport (FNA).

The team primarily conducted the gap analysis assessment to identify areas that need urgent support before the resumption of scheduled flight operations to and from the Freetown International Airport.

In a brief statement, the IOM Field Officer, George Tucker said the need analysis was aimed at giving the IOM a clear picture of the areas they could support before the commencement of flight operations at FNA. The assessment, he added, would involve inspections on arrival and departure facilities, Port Health office, Airport clinic, etc.  

The Director-General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority, Moses Tiffa Baio informed the gathering that the needs assessment exercise would review the travel process at the airport’s arrival and departure sections, looking at the challenges and bringing up strategies to address them.

“After we will have put all public health, safety, and security measures in place, we will conduct a simulation exercise to assess the level of preparedness, underscore the challenges and proffer recommendations for corrective action,” he concluded.

Briefing the team, the Project Manager of IOM Sierra Leone, Kunikaza Akao consented that IOM would support SLCAA and SLAA in achieving short term goals for the reopening of the airport and would consider on the medium and long term goals.

“IOM acknowledges the much-needed needs of the airport; however, the organization will make effort to achieve the short term goals. For the short term goals, we will focus on procuring auto-dispensing hands sanitizers, thermometers, automated doors to avoid touching surfaces, and providing logistical support for the stimulation exercises,” he said.

The General Manager of Sierra Leone Airports Authority, Ebenezer Macauley thanked the SLCAA for the strides they have made since the suspension of scheduled flights while praising IOM for its timely assistance in emerging situations.

He assured the team of his commitment to providing all the support needed to accelerate the reopening of the Freetown International Airport.

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