Sierra Leone Passes ICAO Safety Audit 2023

12th June 2023

Ministry of Transport and Aviation, 7th Floor Youyi Building

Following a two-week rigorous exercise to assess the State’s Aviation Safety Systems, the Republic of Sierra Leone has successfully passed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) – Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA)-2023 scoring 74.22%, a significant increase above the Abuja Safety Target of 60%.

The Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is a programme through which ICAO monitors the fulfilment of the safety oversight obligations by its Member States. USOAP results allow ICAO to assess States’ capabilities in providing safety oversight by assessing whether States have effectively and consistently implemented the eight Critical Elements (CEs) of a Safety Oversight System.

In 2014, ICAO conducted a Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) to assess the country’s progress made in the 2006 Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). After the assessment, Sierra Leone scored 18.06%.

Making a presentation during the debriefing, the ICAO Team Lead, Louis Kweku Opoku expressed thanks and appreciation to the Minister and the entire Aviation sector for their unyielding effort to ensure the successful completion of the exercise. He commended Sierra Leone for the significant improvement in various safety-related areas, noting that the overall Effective Implementation (EI) moved from 16% to a staggering 74%. He also stated that the draft report would be sent to Sierra Leone in 90 days for comments.

In his remarks, Hon Kabineh Kallon, Minister of Transport and Aviation thanked the ICAO team for completing the audit exercise seamlessly. He revealed that the Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Dr Julius Maada Bio was committed to building a safe, secure and globally competitive Civil Aviation System, which has been translated into this milestone.

During his address at the First State Opening of the Fifth Parliament in May 2018, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio emphasised developing Sierra Leone’s Aviation Systems by addressing the safety-related deficiencies, and we have carried his vision. Since 2018, we have put modalities in place to achieve this feat. A leap from 16% to 74% is a great achievement. We are happy with the result, but we want to have the best within the sub-region. Once we receive the draft report, we will respond accordingly,” the Hon Minister stated. 

Dr. Moses Tiffa Baio, Director-General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) stated the result of the ICAO team reflected what Sierra Leone has done since 2018. He added, “This is a testament to the leap we have taken to make the sector attractive and competitive. Under the leadership of President Dr Julius Maada Bio, Sierra Leone has a new airport that enhanced the success of the audit; the Freetown International Airport (FNA) successfully completed the first-ever Airport Certification process scoring 89%. All these great results revealed the effort the State has exerted. We assure you that we will continue to improve.”

It could be noted this is that the greatest achievement the country has experienced in its aviation history. Sierra Leone’s current score meets the regional safety target and the global average.