Groupe TransAir a Senegalese airline that is based at Dakar Biase Diagne international airport has flown into Freetown International Airport on 18th November 2019, to commence full time operations between Sierra Leone and other countries in the West African basin.
According to Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority Madam Fatou Mariatu Wurie, the commencement of this flight materialized after bilateral discussions between President Bio and President Macky Sal of Senegal on his first visit to their country, to improve on the economic relationship between the two countries. She stated that this is merely one of many bilateral air agreements to position Freetown Airport and Sierra Leone as a touristic destination easily accessible from every country.
According to Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Sadiq Sillah, the Bio administration supports the Aviation industry through the provision of the enabling environment to ensure sustainability of operations of airlines to increase economic stability. He maintained that President Bio is fully aware and engaged to ensure that aviation becomes a fruitful venture which is why he has also assured of the visa on arrival under the ministry of Tourism and Culture, depending on the fact that your country of origin is not currently under any UN sanction.
He furthered that Sierra Leone performed brilliantly in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) review, scoring 60% and this he says should be capitalized on now to ensure it benefits the nation as much as possible. In Aviation Deputy Minister Sadiq Sillah said, there is no shortfalls but dedication to service and adherence to bilateral stipulations is the determinant of growth and benefits.
According to him, therefore there is 30% reductions of costs and reduction of GST and some other charges recently approved by the Finance Act of 2020. Also starting January 2020, the use of the ECO currency will commence to normalize the cost of tickets between West African Countries.
The Airport he says will soon commence the construction of a new terminal to proactively cater for emerging space issue but with no inconvenience to the current operations of the existing terminal which is on the far side of the airport.
According to Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Senegal HE Alhaji Elvis Koroma, TransAir should have started operations in 2017 but due to the expensive cost of operations they could not. This flight will significantly reduce flight time between the countries and eliminate the need for layovers in other countries.
According to the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Gambia, trips in and out of the country were exorbitant but with the commencement of this flight, the costs will be minimalized and hopefully open ways for other flights to start operations to other parts of the world. This she says will lead to options and budget preparations for many Citizens of Ecowas countries.
Quality Manager, Safety and Security El Hadji Faye said that their airline thrives on providing value for money and that pricing is determined by Directors but based on customer satisfaction and competency necessary to effect change. He assured that prices will be significantly lesser than other airlines operating so far in the country.
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Written by Sarah Kallay