His Excellency Sadiq Silla, Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the Arab Republic of Egypt paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Civil Aviation, Pilot Mohamed Manar Anba, on Monday, 16 May, 2022 at the offices of the Ministry of Civil Aviation in Cairo to discuss resuming flights to Sierra Leone as part of growing bilateral cooperation.
The talks bordered on key issues of cooperation between Sierra Leone and Egypt in the areas of signing a protocol agreement to allow the resumption of Egyptian flights that were suspended to Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Silla briefed the Minister on the current aviation situation in Sierra Leone outlining the challenges passengers face travelling from Sierra Leone to Egypt, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
He averred that initial arrangements for such moves were hampered by the Ebola Surge in Sierra Leone but was keen on moving this discussion forward. He informed about the ongoing Lungi Airport Extension Project done on a build-operate and transfer model between Sierra Leone and Summa Group of Turkey that will significantly see an aviation demand to rise in passengers from Freetown from Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand to One Million passengers annually.
Responding to the visiting Sierra Leonean delegation, the Aviation Minister said he is willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Sierra Leone on the resumption of Egypt Air and to establish a Sierra Leone national aviation company with joint Egyptian-Sierra Leonean investment.
The MOU can include an exchange of expertise and the facilitation of training of trainers in Egypt and Sierra Leone at the cost of the Egyptian Ministry of Aviation including a technical service center that will make Sierra Leone benefit from other facilities from the Egyptian Aviation Industry.
The Minister, Mohamed Manar Anba requested detailed information on the technical issues surrounding the proposed agreement to give them a fair assessment of the situation and guide efficiently in the planning process.
Both sides agreed to form a technical committee including senior members of the two sides that can provide answers to all the technical questions. The two sides may sign a deal allowing resuming Egyptian Commercial and chartered Flights between Cairo and Freetown. This is estimated to economically benefit Freetown and Cairo and will serve as a massive boost to the Aviation Industry in Sierra Leone and ease the multiple stopovers.
Egyptian operated flight company, Egypt Air, is one of the oldest African airlines, and was set up in 1932. It is known as the only airline in North Africa and the Middle East that is a member of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world. The airline provides services to more than 80 destinations worldwide.