SLCAA Engages SUMMA Airports (SL) Ltd. on FNA Certification Process

30th January 2023

SLCAA Training Hall, Lungi

The Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) has engaged SUMMA Airport (SL) Ltd. on the certification of the Freetown International Airports (FNA).

Giving the background of the certification project, the SLCAA Deputy Director General – Technical, Fatu Maria Wurie, recalled that in July 2019, the Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) through the assistance of the SLCAA invited the Airport Council International (ACI) to conduct the first ever Airport Excellence (APEX) in safety review program at the Freetown International Airport (FNA).

Madam Wurie disclosed that, the APEX review assessed the level of safety of the Freetown International Airport, identified gaps and provided a strategic road map in a bid to addressing the identified gaps for promoting safer airport operations.

Representing SUMMA Airports (SL) Ltd., the General Manager, Senol Corlu, expressed how prepared they are in making sure that the Freetown International Airport is been certified as an international airport.

We believe that after completing 95% of the current construction work at the airport, it will close down the 200 or more findings that were identified by the Airport Excellence (APEX) review in 2019,” he assured.

The GM while pledging his support to the entire process, recognised that this is a task which needs to be completed with everyone onboard.

In his statement, the SLCAA Director General, Dr. Moses Tiffa Baio, started by expressing how happy he was to attend the initial meeting with SUMMA Airports (SL) Ltd. on the certification of the Freetown International Airport. 

Explaining why the regulatory body is pushing for the State to go through the aerodrome certification process, Dr Baio said that aerodrome certification is one of the key performance indicators for aviation safety management globally.

Additionally, the State of Sierra Leone, has set the certification of Freetown International Airport as a national priority, this was made by HE President Brig. (Rtd.) Dr. Julius Maada Bio as part of his manifesto commitment of certifying the Freetown International Airports. Since the commencement of operations in 1988 of the SLAA, the Freetown International Airport was never certified, and that is a serious safety risk,” Dr. Baio averred. 

Dr. Baio concluded that, the State will undergo a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program (USOAP), by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from 31st May to 12th June 2023. “The first time the State was audited by ICAO on all the eight critical elements was in 2006, and in 2014 they came back to conduct the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM)”.

Presenting the Aerodrome Certification Process, the SLCAA Aerodrome Safety Standards Division Inspector, Ing. Prince Bryan Kai Fillie, observed that, the objective of the certification process is to promote safety of flight operations, ensure standardization of aerodrome facilities within the operating environment, promote orderly growth of infrastructure for civil aviation and provide quality assurance to uses.

Ing. Fillie further revealed that the process of certifying the Freetown International Airport have Five Phases: Phase I – Dealing with the expression of interest, Phase II – Assessing the formal application, Phase III – Assessing the aerodrome facilities, equipment and services, Phase IV – issuing or refusing an aerodrome certificate, and Phase V – Promulgating the certified status of an Aerodrome. 

He ended that certification is an ICAO requirement which is provided for in Annex 14 Vol 1 1.4.1 “States shall certify aerodromes used for international operations in accordance with the specifications contained in the annex, as well as other relevant ICAO specifications through an appropriate regulatory framework”, and the CA Act 2019, Section 100 (1) “A person shall not establish an aerodrome for public use unless and aerodrome certificate for that aerodrome has been issued by the Authority under this Act”.

Certification of FNA