Margibi County — It was a joyous occasion on Tuesday, December 12, at the Robert International Airport in Margibi County when group of Liberians and Ghanaians gathered to witness the maiden inaugural flight of the Africa World Airlines (AWA) to Liberia.
The ceremony came just days before the pre dedication of the modern terminal that is still undergoing construction at the Robert International Airport by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Speaking at the ceremony making the official launch of AWA to Liberia at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County, the Co-Chairman of the Africa World Airlines and Chief of Asogli State in Ghana, Togbe Afode XIV said the coming of the airline to Liberia is a significant milestone in the bilateral relationship between Liberia and Ghana and an important step in AWA expansion process.
"At Africa World Airlines our core values are safety, reliability, efficiency, punctuality and commitment. And we intend to let it be prominent in our activities in Liberia. We know that Africa World Airlines direct service from Accra to Monrovia will further deepen the relationship between our two countries. It is a service we are committed to maintain irrespective of any challenges that come out against us," Togbe Afode XIV noted.
He averred that as renovation works on the Robert International Airport (RIA) go on, his company plans to make an upward adjustment in its activities and will use Liberia as a success story in connecting to other countries in the region and the world at large.
He further stated that Liberia is the first country to operate in as part of their westward expansion and assure that it remains prominent in their plans; adding that AWA looks forward in achieving great things in the aviation industry with the government and the people of Liberia.
He said from a humble beginning with two aircrafts in September, 2012, AWA now has six small but efficient jets and is expecting to take delivery of two larger E190 aircrafts before the end of March, 2018 and additional ones that will fly between Accra, Monrovia, Banjul, Dakar and other countries within the sub region; and called for a peaceful conduct of the election to ensure an enabling and peaceful environment that will pave the way for more investments in Liberia.
"Subsequently we look forward to receiving three Boeings 767 that enables us to connect Africa to London, New York, Sao Paulo, and Istanbul etc. We have come to stay and we want to partner with Liberia.
Let me emphasize that no development can take place accept in an atmosphere of peace.
That is why I want to encourage my Liberians friend that the forth-coming runoff election should be done in peace so that we can have the best president Liberia deserves.
Peace in Liberia will mean peace in Ghana. Peace in Liberia will mean for Africa World Airlines to expand. We hope that everything go on peacefully for the betterment of our sub region, he averred.
Also speaking on behalf of the Government of Liberia, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara, described the coming of AWA as a major boost to the bilateral tide between the two countries and pledged the Liberian Government's commitment to creating an enabling environment for the investment to prosper.
"To see the Africa World Airlines entering the skylines of Liberia is to say congratulations to the bilateral relationship between Liberia and Ghana.
It is in this respect that we want to say that the government is going to create the enabling environment for the investment to prosper.
The development of Africa rests with Africans. Your coming is a testament that Liberia will remain peaceful and the electoral process will go on peacefully," Mr. Kamara avowed.
Speaking earlier, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Aviation Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah avowed that the coming of AWA is a result of series of negotiation between the two countries and on behalf of the Ghanaian Government assured Liberians that the airline will provide reliable services to the Liberians.
Mr. Mensah averred that the collaboration is part of addressing the problem of air traffic congestion which among other things calls for countries to sign bilateral agreements and multilateral treaties to allow international air services between their territories.
He maintained that it is both governments' vision to encourage and support local airlines and entrepreneurs to set up private airlines that can fully utilize the nation's air space.
"This land mark agreement will no doubt further improve our two countries bilateral and reciprocal economic activities and create jobs for the benefits of our economies," he said.