SLWIA Raises FOD Awareness Campaign

29th September 2021

Freetown International Airport, Lungi

The Sierra Leone Women in Aviation (SLWIA) in collaboration with Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) and the Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA) has engaged other Aviation Stakeholders in raising awareness on Foreign Object Debris (FOD).

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) at airports is any object found in an inappropriate location that, as a result of being in that location, can damage equipment or injure personnel. They include a wide range of materials: loose hardware, pavement fragments, catering supplies, building materials, rocks, sand, pieces of luggage, and even wildlife.

In her statement, the President of SLWIA, Mallay Betty Braima, said their association was established in August 2015 by 14 Female Aviation Professionals spanning various sectors of the aviation industry.

“The objective of our association is to promote the current career growth of our members, create access to other industry professionals, inspire young women to consider aviation as a career path, organise outreach programmes and forums for school pupils, and partner with similar international chapters of women in aviation for program exchanges and career development,” she added. 

Speaking on behalf of the SLCAA Director-General, the SLCAA State Safety Manager, Arnold Bangura, stated: “We are here today to mark another achievement from a group of women who have decided to make their mark in the aviation industry in Sierra Leone with the exercise of raising awareness on the negative effect of FOD in aviation”.

Arnold Bangura maintained that as part of the SLWIA initiative to promote aviation safety and in consultation with the SLCAA and SLAA, SLWIA has decided to organise FOD awareness campaign to provide the industry and community with much-needed information on the effect of FODs and wildlife in the vicinity of an airport and associated safety impact.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Management of SLCAA, he thanked SLWIA for organizing such a landmark event and further call on them to continue in this trajectory.

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA), Jack Massaquoi, noted he was elated to witness the campaign on Foreign Object Debris which hinged on promoting safety at the Freetown International Airport (FNA), the only gateway to Sierra Leone by air.

He said the theme for the campaign “Making FNA, FOD Free” sends a loud message not only to stakeholders within the aviation industry, but also the country at large about the effect of Foreign Object Debris.

In her keynote address, the SLCAA Aerodrome and Ground Aids Manager, Ing. Lyat Mason, who doubles as the Vice President of SLWIA, stated that the continuous improvement in global aviation safety is fundamental to ensuring that air transport continues to play a major role in driving sustainable economic and social development around the world.

“To ensure safety Standards are implemented at Aerodromes, ICAO has mandated States to Certify Aerodromes used for International operations. This process ensures the establishment and implementation of an aerodromes Safety Management System,” she said. 

Ing. Mason further revealed that the presence of FOD at airport operating areas poses a significant threat to the safety of air travel, as it has the potential to damage aircraft during critical phases of flight, which can lead to catastrophic loss of life and equipment, and at the very least increase maintenance and operating costs.

She ended that FOD Prevention and clearance are the responsibility of all airport users. “All personnel involved with operations, construction and maintenance at the airside, have equal responsibility to ensure their particular operation does not give rise to FODs”. She calls on all aviation stakeholders to make the Freetown International Airport FOD free.