Parliament Enacts SLCAA Act, 2019

By Cyril Barnes

On Thursday 29th August, 2019, Parliament has enacted the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Act 2019  to provide for an effective aviation safety 
and security oversight system and address the requirements of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944).

Sierra Leone being a signatory to the Chicago Convention is required to comply with all Standards 
and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of which the Civil Aviation Act 2019 forms the legal basis for the 
implementation of aviation safety and  security 
policies in Sierra Leone.

Presenting the bill in the Well of Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Sadiq 
Sillah informed Members of Parliament that Sierra Leone has undergone the Universal Security Audit 
Programme (USAP); adding that in preparation for the audit, ICAO regional office had dispatched a couple of 
assistance missions to Sierra Leone to assess the State’s level of preparedness.

“The implementation of security measures at the Freetown International Airport (FNA) is laudable; however, the measures should be backed by a strong legal framework. Some of the measures currently 
being implemented at the airport can be legally challenged, hence the need to review and strengthen the current Civil Aviation Act, 2017 in order to address the latest amendments to Annex 17 and Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention,” he said. 

The Deputy Minister further noted that as a result of its exigency, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio 
reconvened Parliament with a certificate of urgency to promulgate the 2019 Civil Aviation Act to enable the 
state to comply with ICAO SARPs and meet the global Security rating of 75%.

He concluded by submitting that: “If the Act is not enacted there may be grave consequences as Sierra 
Leone will not attain the global aviation security rating on effective implementation level of 75%; the international Airport will be declared insecure and may be blacklisted, it will affect ticket pricing as any 
airline flying into Sierra Leone may do so at their own risk,  and it will make the state uncompetitive in terms 
of tourism promotion and development which thus negates government’s effort toward achieving 
economic diversification.”

In response to the Deputy Minister’s presentation, Members of Parliament present agreed that passing the bill into law would be in the best interest of the country not only for economic benefits, but also to position the State strategically in the global aviation system.

The Acting Leader of Opposition, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo emphasized that: “Parliament must accept the 
fact that the bill presented is important for the development of Civil Aviation which directly borders on the security of the state. The 75% is achievable, and this Parliament is willing to make it happen. They will speedily enact the bill to comply with ICAO SARPs, and enhance Civil Aviation Security in order to move a step towards achieving sustainable development.”