AIRPORT AUTHORITY TO MAKE LE14 BILLION PROFITS IN 2019
By Amadu Wurie Barrie
The Finance Director of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority(SLAA), Alhaji Ahmed Gibril Turay, has told Pressmen at the 2019 Government budget hearing at the Bank Complex Kingtom that indeed the SLAA is making profits and expect much more next year.
He said the company is expected to expend Le59 Billion in 2019 and also hope to receive Le74 Billion giving expected profits of Le14 Billion.
He continued to say, out of that Le14 Billion, the company is planning on engaging in many investment activities like establishment of an Aviation House, a new Fire Engine, some vehicles of utility purposes, staff training etc.
However, he expressed dissatisfaction about land grabbers who have encroached on the territory of the airports and also community residents who dump rubbish in the compound.
This he said attracts birds to fly around the compound and have the tendency of causing serious damage to the flights. He explained that a birth had got stuck in a flight’s engine, which led to a replacement of that flight.
In acknowledging the challenge of the hotel that is used by travelers, he said there are intentions on constructing a hotel owned by the SLPA, but not very soon.
Mr. Turay said the authority has been doing well in terms of security and have reduced cases of theft substantially.
The Finance Director explained that the SLAA has a cooperate social responsibility by which they give back to the community from what they earn from it.
He acknowledged that the community, in one way or the other, suffers from the noise or chemicals produced by the airport and that as a humane management, they have been giving scholarships to the community annually.
He added that the SLAA also support religious bodies on several occasions like Ramadan, etc. Director Turay further noted that the Lungi International Airports are not receiving more flights as compared to that of other sub-regional countries owing to the risk factors that tag the country as a war torn one and also the high insurance premium, which needs to be worked on.
The Finance Director, in comparing the Lungi Bridge with the Mamamah Airport propositions said he prefers the Lungi Bridge over the former. According to him “the bridge will attract tourists to the country and also decongest the city”.
He furthered that, the existing airport is not fully utilized and that building another is not economically wise. Therefore, he believes that the bridge would be more essential if the government can afford it.
Mr. Turay continued to say the SLAA is trying its best to rebrand its facilities in order to attract more investors. He said they are working on transforming the departure hall into a pre-boarding area, which would attract aircrafts going to United States of America as that is one of their main requirements of operation.