New RIA Terminal to Be Ready for Use by Year End

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An Aerial view Jet bridges installed on the main terminal building

The Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Wil Bako Freeman, has disclosed that the US$50 million terminal project at the Roberts International Airport will be ready for use by the end of this year.

Mr. Freeman made the disclosure on Tuesday, September 11, 2017 in an interview with the Daily Observer.

Construction of the new terminal began in 2017 under the terms of a loan agreement the Liberian Government under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed with the People’s Republic of China.

The $50 million is a concessionary loan that Liberia will pay with interest within 25 years.

The terminal has been erected and contractors are working daily to ensure that it is ready as promised.  The two boarding bridges from the building to the turn pad have been connected as engineering while pavement is also ongoing around the terminal.  At the same time, construction work is taking place on a water treatment plant and a standby power house.

LAA MD Freeman

According to Mr. Freeman, the terminal is expandable and may be expanded in the future if Liberia begins to attract a greater flow of passengers.

When completed and dedicated, the new terminal will be the first up to date modern terminal ever at the RIA since the construction of that airport in the 1940s during the Second World War.

Areas currently used for passengers are medium sized buildings which also host authorities of the airport. The boarding rooms are so congested that each can barely host  100 passengers.

According to the LAA MD, upon completion, most of the buildings, including those used as terminals, will be demolished to create space for entry to the new terminal. He said they are also contemplating improving the human resource capacity of the airport to meet conventional acceptance in dealing with passengers at arrival and departure.

There will also be restaurant and other business areas and, Mr. Freeman said, the management will soon publish a bidding advertisement for Liberian businesses and others to compete.

On the other hand, the RIA Managing Director also spoke of an US$11 million concession agreement between RIA and GLS-NAS to build a cargo terminal and operate it at the airport. This, he said, will take a year to complete and will put Liberia in competition with other countries that are attracting huge flow of passengers and other businesses in the region. He noted that because Liberia does not have such a facility in the air transport business, it charges a ton of cargo as low as US6 cents.

One challenging situation that caused Liberia to lose business with some airlines, including Air France, was the dilapidated condition of the runway.

A $30 million loan from the Saudi Group and Arab Bank for Africa has also helped to address the runway and it now has the best led light which, the MD said, is the first he knows in Africa.

He said the runway in air transport business is very essential in attracting airlines because it is the main area of operation for the airplane.

Also to be completed shortly is the old terminal building that is undergoing renovation. According to Freeman, when completed, the building will host the offices of the Liberia Airport Authority.

Anthony P. Togba II, Project Manager at the RIA, said the terminal is the first of its kind here in Liberia and meets all the requirements of a modern terminal.

He described it as a “Steel structure building with a glass window curtain,” also disclosing that materials inside the building are aluminum steel. He said they also used concrete pile underneath with steel for the foundation, which accordingly guarantees the durability of the building.

Meanwhile, there are currently 10 airlines operating in Liberia, and chief among them are Kenya Airways, KLM, Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines.

LAA Managing Director Freeman said they are also working on the active resumption of domestic air transport and, toward this end, some airstrips including those in Sasstown, Tappita and Rivercess are undergoing repair for this purpose.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Firstly, I must commend the Management of LAA for progress thus far and applaud the Daily Observers for bringing this story to the public. For many months I have waited for words from the Airport Authority on the progress at RIA New Terminal Project. As a result of the tight lips of the Liberia Airport Authority, photos of Extension Project of the kotoka Airport Terminal (New Terminal) in Ghana was floated on Social Media by some individuals misleading their readers that it was photos from the RIA Project. In the absence of credible information, gossips, speculations and misinformation becomes the source of information. I urge the Management of the LAA to keep Liberian continuously updated on the works at RIA via their website, Facebook account or any other means possible as most Liberians are looking forward to the day that the disgrace which has been brought upon this country by the current terminal will come to an end. We are tire of the comments coming out of not foreigners but Liberians upon arrival and departure at RIA.

  2. This is good news for passengers and the economy. Now we can be proud again flying to Liberia. Thanks to former President Sirleaf for this project. They should name the airport after her.

  3. Please Phil, Madame Sirleaf has done far more damage to the country psyche than any other liberian leader.

    The worst she did was to set a precedence for corruption to continue unabated. She has made many lackeys to believe that they too can be corporations’ presidents, managing and deputy managing directors, and ministers without any experience but a paper degree form some worthless entity.

    however for me, she had the singular opportunity to have put the country on the right trajectory from which it could have continue to benefit generations unborn. Given that she was one of the antagonists and promoter, commander of war efforts that destroyed the country, in no way she should be given a simple pass because of a terminal in which millions of dollars were stolen before it was done right. Did Musa bility pay back the money he signed for as board chair?

    Phil, she signed bogus concessions with the intent to steal and stole millions from the liberian people. we all know, it is no secret, that she used Robert Sirleaf to steal millions and passed NOCAL empty bag to the liberian people.

    There are a lot of bad people that did some good things, and Madame Sirleaf is no different. There are a lot of good reasons she should not be given such an honor because honor is given to those who truly deserve it; not the one who embraces impunity for the sake of politics.

  4. When I flew from Abuja through Abijan to RIA on the 28th of August this year, I felt downtrodden and my spirit died. The present RIA terminus is most embarrassing. Well, we thank God for the new terminus. But I would say it will only reduce our sh..m. The only thing that I can proudly beat beat chest for, is the runaway with the lighting. It is excellent and goes far beyond what we have in Abuja and Abijan. We thank God for all these, and the instruments he uses.

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