Liberia Closing in On Tentative Date for Reopening of Airport

Monrovia — Authorities at the Roberts International Airport have been meeting with stakeholders, both local and international to explore the possibility of reopening the Roberts International Airport to commercial flights.

Bishop John Allan Klayee, Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority(LAA) told FrontPageAfrica Thursday that ongoing discussions have been going on for some time with the goal of making sure that all the mechanisms are put in place before the airport is reopened for business.

Said Bishop Klayee: "In order to open the airport we have been having series of meetings with the stakeholders - Ministry of Health, the National Public Health Institute(NPHIL), the United Nations Refugee Agency(UNHCR) and the United States Aid for International Development(USAID). We have also been comparing notes with our next-door neighbors - Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea and the Ivory Coast as well as the International Air Transport Association(IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) and the Airports Council International Europe(ACI)."

Bishop Klayee explained that all of the stakeholders have already sent their regulations for post-COVID-19 flight operations which are being studied. "We have also gathered regulations from neighbors and are in the process of putting in place our own regulations together and submitted to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport."

The new regulations include a mandatory public health concept for travelers with technology aided screening, testing and quarantine procedure. The new concept is drafted in in keeping with an advisory from the Airport Council International and the National Public Health Institute.

Bishop Klayee said in the next few days the public will be informed about a tentative date for the reopening of the airport and resumption of flights. "Before this weekend, we will be having the final copy of what we will be using in terms of health measure from IATA and the airport before open. For now, the tentative date is not yet finalized but it could be anywhere from now to the fourth of July but July 10th could be a safe bet for now, depending on the progress being made. We have already done inspection of the terminal with the health ministry and NPHIL but we are still in discussions."

The discussions over the possible tentative date for reopening comes as Liberia continues to record mass number of recoveries from the deadly Coronavirus. As of Thursday, a total of 321 cases have been reported with 28 deaths and 175 recoveries.

The RIA was closed to commercial carriers in March of this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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