President opens new terminal at Freetown airport

Written by: Samantha Payne Polepaka |
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Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio opened his country’s first new international airport terminal since independence.

The 14,000 square-metre terminal building at Freetown International Airport is three times the size of the airport’s existing terminal and will be able to handle up to 90,000 passengers per month, five times the current capacity, and eight widebody jets simultaneously.

As well as passenger departure and arrivals facilities it includes a VIP/Presidential channel, improved cargo handling and a new air-traffic control tower capped by a diamond design to reflect the country’s status as source of some of the world’s finest gems.

President Bio said: "Today is a great day, a new day for all of us. This is the first time in the history of this country that a completely new international airport terminal has been constructed, one that has the latest technology and the highest compliance standards to make it more attractive to more international airlines. Today we have an ultramodern air terminal that is three times larger than the existing terminal and has brand new facilities that will accommodate up to a million passengers a year to make it a major transit hub in the sub-region. We now have on offer a safer, modern and very comfortable airport."

The new terminal makes history as the first international passenger facility to be built in Sierra Leone since it gained independence in April 1961.

Sustainably designed with all its power needs met by its 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar farm, Freetown International Airport’s new terminal will be the first fully green one in West Africa.

The US$270 million new terminal, built by Turkish company Summa, is the latest stage in a development plan to reboot aviation in Sierra Leone, once a regional centre for flying excellence with numerous scheduled and charter flights to UK and European cities.

Kabineh Kallon, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Transport and Aviation, said: "An airport, as the first point of entry into a country, is the face of that country. This is our airport – the pride of Sierra Leone. Again, let us tell our own story to the world – that Sierra Leone is moving in the right direction, in the New Direction. Already, we have at least three more international airlines that have shown interest in landing at this airport."

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