No Date Yet For RIA Project
Transport Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe says there is definite time yet to commence the modernization project for the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County.
Minister Nagbe told the Legislative Joint Committee on Transport, including airlines operators and stakeholders that the RIA, which should be the nation’s pride, is instead a national eye-sore which needs urgent cure. The Transport boss made the disclosure during the induction ceremony of RIA’s new general manager early this week in Harbel, Margibi County.
Nagbe said Liberia is expected to get a modern class A international airport, and that a master plan has been developed by the Ministry of Transport and endorsed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“The Liberia Airport Authority recently signed a US$10 million agreement with a foreign firm to carry on a comprehensive technical assessment of the entire airport to enable decision-makers to make informed decision as to how the project proceeds,” he noted.
On current development at RIA, Nagbe admonished the new management to meet those standards set by the Pacific American Engineering (PAE). He paid tribute to RIA former General Manager, James Ebanks, during his nearly 3-years stay at the port, and emphasized the betterment of work condition of employees.
“There is a framework to seek redress to your grievances instead of resulting to arbitrary actions which will undermine and impede the growth of the entity,” Nagbe told the employees.
For his part, the RIA new General Manager remains upbeat of the transformation of the airport and its surroundings into a thriving world class airport in West Africa.
Julius Dennis said the actualization of this vision hinges on the development of a comprehensive master plan that will provide the basis for future operational expectations and the logical path it needs to take to fulfill them.
“The mission of the new management is to consistently give customers a comfortable airport experience through the provision of safe, efficient and effective airport facilities and service in an environmentally sustainable manner,” Dennis noted.
He stressed this is embedded in the core values of the new management that customer focused with integrity, professionalism, teamwork, creativity, innovation, good corporate governance, environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
In remarks, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Representative Edward Kafia of the Joint Senate and House Standing Committees on Transport, pledged their respective committees’ support to the passage of the pending budget of US$10 million for the project. They acknowledged the challenges but called on the new management to work harder to standardize the airport, while stressing transparency and accountability.
Liberia Airport Authority(LAA’s) Board Chairman, Musa Bility decried the flooding of the airport with limited security presence and called for the synchronization of the security into a until in line with international best practice.
Bility commended the outgoing General Manager, James Ebanks without whom he said the airport would not have achieved the progress made thus far, and reiterated that dignity and respect must be accorded employees of the RIA.