The Director General of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority(LCAA), Mr. Archie R. Williams, has underscored the need for the full rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County.
According to him, the airport must be rehabilitated in order to meet standards of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA).
He pointed out that the ICAA standards are placed into three (3) categories.
He disclosed that the RIA does not fall into any category of the ICAA, emphasizing that the RIA needs to be upgraded.
Mr. Williams spoke on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) regular press briefing held at the Charles Gbenyon Press Hall in Monrovia.
He said overlying of runways at airport is "customarily" done after every ten years but according to him, the runways at the RIA have not been overlaid for over twenty-five years. He pointed out that the deplorable condition of the runways previously makes it "dangerous for aircraft to land and take off" at the RIA.
Mr. Williams admitted that the "instrumentation at the RIA is in a deteriorating" state that needs upliftment in order to meet international standards. He said series of communications had been addressed to the Government of Liberia(GOL) for the improvement of the RIA to prevent death from taking place at the airport.
He said measures must be taken to urgently upgrade the RIA. The LCAA boss said the Liberian government is currently "patching runways" at the airport. Mr. Williams said the airport lacks installed runways lights that need to be addressed.
However, Mr. Williams said equipment havebeen brought into the country for the upgrading of the "air tragic control tower" at the RIA.
This, he said, is necessary for pilot to "communicate before landing at the airport."
According to him, Liberia is contemplating on getting to category two of the ICAA standards within the next few months.
He continued: "We must do something to upgrade the airport to standards. I have been writing letters upon letters to government to try and improve the airport because if not, we will have people killed at that airport which we do not want."
Mr. Williams mentioned that Liberia is still backward in terms of the number of passengers entering into the country as compared to Ghana because of the airport condition.
According to him, the entry of passengers has to some extent increase from 1000 to 8000. Mr. Williams then stressed the need for capacity building for civil aviation staff.