GoSL, ICAO Commence FNA Certification Project

8th July 2022

SLCAA Training Hall – Lungi

The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has commenced the Certification Process for the Freetown International Airport (FNA).

The five-day (4th – 8th July 2022) workshop aims to provide participants with the requisite tools and guidance for the conduct of the certification activities and at the same time help familiarize themselves with procedures and tools implemented by states that have already certified an airport.

In his welcome statement, the SLCAA Director-General, Dr. Moses Tiffa Baio, expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to the ICAO Western and Central African (WACAF) Regional Office for their continued support to the SLCAA in addressing the States safety deficiencies.

While recalling the Ministerial Conference on Aviation Safety that was held in Abuja, Nigeria on 16th – 20th July 2021, the Director-General said that the Ministers responsible for aviation in Africa resolved during the Abuja Declaration on Aviation Safety that all African States must certify at least one International Aerodrome by 2022.

He further disclosed that Sierra Leone has been scheduled for the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) in May 2023, adding that the certification of the Freetown International Airport would serve as a key requirement for passing the Safety Audit and also serve as a milestone towards improving Sierra Leone’s aviation safety. 

Dr. Baio assured the gathering of the States’ continued commitment to enhancing global aviation safety.

Representing the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, the Hon. Deputy Minister of Transport, Rex Bhonapha, revealed that His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, upon assuming office in April 2018, clearly laid out plans for the aviation sector in three key specific policy actions: enhance global civil aviation safety by certifying the Freetown International Airport (FNA) to meet International Standard; enhance global civil aviation security and facilitation and develop an Air Transport Master Plan to foster the development of a sound and economically viable civil aviation system.

The Hon. Deputy Minister maintained that the Government Policy on Air Transportation as encapsulated in both Volume 1 & 2 of the Medium-Term National Development Plan, 2019-2023 (Cluster3.2: Transforming Transport System), laid the basis for the development of the aviation sector in Sierra Leone.

The Airport Operations will be transferred to SUMMA, who are presently constructing new Airport facilities, including resurfacing of the runway, construction of a parallel taxiway, construction of new apron pavement, new terminal building with two aerobridges, new rescue and fire station fully equipped, new Emergency Operation Centre, upgrade of all Visual Aid, calibration of the existing NAV-AIDS, construction of emergency access roads,” he stated.

On her part, the SLCAA Aerodrome and Ground Aids Manager, Ing. Lyat O. Mason, informed the meeting about the State’s preparedness for the certification of the Freetown International Airport, maintaining that the authority to certify an aerodrome in Sierra Leone is vested in the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority as enshrined in the Civil Aviation Act, 2019 Section 102(1) “The Authority shall have the power to certify and grant the license in respect of aerodromes and to establish minimum safety standards for the design, operation, and maintenance of aerodromes”.

The ICAO Regional Director, Western and Central African (WACAF) Office, Prosper Zo’o Minto’o, thanked the SLCAA for hosting the familiarization workshop on the AFI Plan Aerodrome Certification Project for Sierra Leone.

 “At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to understand and clearly describe the ICAO requirements and guidance for aerodrome certification and comprehend the regulator’s duties and responsibilities on aerodrome certification, including the granting of exemptions,” he assured.

Speaking on the ICAO requirement and Aerodrome Certification process, the Deputy Reginal Director, Western and Central African (WACAF) Office, Nika Manzi, noted that the certification is intended to ensure that the aerodrome meets the specifications regarding the facility and its operations and that it has the capability to maintain these specifications for the period of validity of the certification according to the certifying authority.

He furthered that the certification would establish the baseline for continued maintaining of compliance with the specification.

One of the three main components of the airport certification is to ensure compliance of the aerodrome infrastructure with the applicable regulation for the operations the aerodrome is intended to serve,” he concluded.