Transfer of Operations from FNA to SUMMA Airports Company… MTA, SLCAA Negotiate Seamless Transition with SLAA

Freetown International Airport – Lungi

20th January 2023

The Ministry of Transport and Aviation (MTA), together with the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) has engaged the Management and Staff of the Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) on the seamless transfer of the operations of the Freetown International Airports (FNA) to the SUMMA Company Sierra Leone Limited.

Representing the Paramount Chief of Kaffu Bullom, the Chiefdom Speaker, Chief Pa. Komrabai Maylie Kamara, thanked His Excellency the President, Dr Julius Maada Bio for constructing a brand-new airport in their chiefdom. He called on his people to take advantage of the opportunity and make the best out of the new ultra-modern Freetown International Airport.  

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Airports Authority, Jack D K Massaquoi revealed that the occasion marks a significant turning point in the history of Sierra Leone. “The current airport structure, prior to its use as a civilian airport, was a British Royal Air Force base during the 1940s,” he recalled.

While pledging his support for a seamless transition process, the General Manager admonished SLAA staff that will be crossing over to SUMMA to work professionally in order to meet the company’s expectation.

Speaking on behalf of SUMMA, the General Manager, Senol Corlu, maintained that they were very much humble to take over the operations of FNA. “SUMMA Group is currently managing the Senegal Airport with 1700 employees, and only 20 are experts,” he revealed. 

Senol Corlu assured the gathering of their commitment to working with all existing structures of the airport and the government in making sure that the operations of the airports comply with international standards.

In his statement, the SLCAA Director-General doubling as the Chairman of the Transition Committee, Dr. Moses Tiffa Baio, noted that two critical issues need to be addressed if a State wants to develop its aviation industry: building the safety oversight capabilities and building the State aviation infrastructure.

Dr. Baio disclosed that the Government has worked tremendously to get the safety oversight capabilities very strong, but what was lacking was the infrastructural component.

“Before now, what we had was not an airport for commercial operations, it was established for Military aircraft operations,” Dr. Baio said.

He furthered that the SUMMA Group Concession Agreement was a blessing to Sierra Leone, as they were the first airport construction company in full compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

Dr. Baio underscored that there are four key players in the aviation industry: the regulatory body, airport operator, air navigation services provider, and the airlines. “SLAA was providing two main services i.e., air navigation services providers and the airport operator. The only function that has been transferred to SUMMA is the airport operation,” he ended. 

The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affair and International Cooperation, Prof. David John Francis, in his statement, reminded all that the Foreign Ministry is the global face of the country, so whatever happens around all sectors in the airport affects the Ministry.

“As the Ministry responsible for superintending the Presidential Lounge, we will provide all the technical training required to airport staff at the Presidential Lounge in carrying out their work,” the Minister assured.

Making his keynote address, the Hon. Minister of Transport and Aviation, Kabineh M. Kallon, recalled that when His Excellency the President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio came into governance in 2018 under the New Direction Manifesto, he made it clear that one of his key priorities was to improve the aviation sector through by building a sustainable, safe and secure Civil Aviation System that was affordable and accessible by all.

The Minister ended by thanking the President for such a laudable initiative and acknowledged the professional work done by all stakeholders within the aviation industry and SUMMA Group just within a little over a year.

The ceremony was chaired by the Senior Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Al-Hassan Kharamoh Kondeh.