In the true sense of their mandate, Liberian aviation authorities may just be uprightly proactive in ensuring that conditions under which air travelers fly are safe. As a manifestation of the foregoing, they have acted jointly with their West African counterparts to avert what appears to have been a disaster hanging over Liberia and its West African neighbors.
Recently, authorities of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority, backed by Ministry of Transport following a number of observatory investigation, in no uncertain terms, advised the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf not to fly Delta Air-an American airliner should there be any plan now or the nearest future unless certain conditions were met. The LCAA, through its Director General Richelieu Williams, attributed his institution's action to the unsafe conditions in which Delta Air is engulfed.
According to the Liberia Aviation Authority, Delta Air has been undergoing technical and Mechanical problems for duration of six months without any acknowledgement, something very threatening to the safety of its American, Liberian and West African passengers. The alarm raised by the Liberian aviation authorities stemmed from the numerous unceremonious delays and cancellation of scheduled flights along the United States-West African Route by the American Airline. Even though the LCAA is yet to disclose whether or not it has suspended all Delta Flights to Monrovia, it only revealed that a formal complaint has already been made.
"As result of a series of delays and technical delays and cancellations of Delta flights en route to Liberia via Accra, the LCAA took the lead to a two-approach with Ghana's acquiescence to make a formal representation to Delta Management requesting explanation for the delays and cancellations; the two countries have so far communicated their concerns to Delta Management in Atlanta," an official statement issued in Monrovia last Thursday by the LCAA and Transport Ministry suggested.
"Owing to the urgency attached to the matter by Liberia and Ghana, a combined team of safety inspectors is being mobilized to carry out a comprehensive safety audit of Delta's operational and maintenance within the shortest possible time to meticulously and specifically conduct safety inspections on all '767-300 series short-listed on Delta's Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) viz-a-viz Air service License (ASL) issued by the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority," the statement assured.
The New Dawn-Liberia is of the fervent belief that such an investigative venture is only indicative of the resolve of the Liberia aviation authorities to ensure the "right and good things" for our country no matter who is involved or what it entails".
We are further elated by news from the LCAA of the participation of the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA in the 30-day Joint Safety Audit of Delta's operational and maintenance facilities. It is our hope that, in the supreme interest of Liberia and West Africa, the determining actions on the basis of the findings of the audit will lead truly to the possible removal of all 767-300 series from Delta's Aircraft Operating Certificate or AOC as promised by the LCAA last Thursday in its official press statement issued in Monrovia.
If we as a people and as a nation have never put up any a challenge geared toward our own betterment and safety, now must be the time. This is why, as we watch the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority with an 'eagle eye' in such a challenging situation involving an American Company, we must als be grateful that the LCAA was quick in intervening in the way it did to avert what would have been a sad situation for Liberia and others.
We can only hope that now that the causes of some of these delays and cancellations in flights to Liberia have been discovered, aviation authorities in the country will continue to follow up on the technical and mechanical conditions of other African and European airlines flying to Liberia as a way of ensuring and guaranteeing the safety of passengers.
The LCAA must be commended for such a good beginning for the first time in recent times in raising such a 'red flag' about the industry as far as the public is concerned, with the challenge of going beyond Delta Air.