Indications have emerged that the new passenger terminal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA), which was pre-dedicated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday, will increase passenger volume and provide better services comparable elsewhere in the world.

The opening of the new state of the art passenger terminal, according to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will give RIA a new face and put Liberia on par with sister international airports in the West African sub-region, the rest of the African continent and the world at large.

President Sirleaf recalled that in 2006, when she assumed the leadership of the country, Liberia was faced with several hard choices; one of those hard choices is the Robert International Airport and today “we are proud to have a new and modern state of the art passenger terminal.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf giving remarks at the RIA terminal pre-dedication ceremony

The new passenger terminal building is arranged in two floors. The first floor includes check-in hall, inspection area, waiting area, arrival hall, baggage claim, baggage handling rooms, equipment rooms and other offices.

The second floor includes waiting and departure area, commercial area, etc. after check-in, immigration, and after security screening on the first floor, passengers will arrive in their waiting area on the second floor by elevators and stairs.

“We are all aware of the devastating effects of Liberia’s civil conflict on all facets of the country’s infrastructure. Our only international airport sustained extensive destruction of its key facilities and amenities,” the President said.

“Today, coupled with the completion of rehabilitation works on a once unsafe runway, this modern terminal will contribute immensely to an increase in traffic volumes and the overall passenger travel experiences at the RIA.”

Madam Sirleaf stated that as Liberia continues to strengthen its excellent and cordial bilateral relationship with the People’s Republic of China, “I want to use this occasion to again extend special thanks and the deepest of our appreciation to His Excellency, Zhang Yue, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China for his steadfast leadership and intervention on this project.”

She said many people and institutions also worked tirelessly to ensure that the project was realized and however used the occasion to blast her critics that those who spew hatred, fake news and misinformation will be blessed by the spirit of Christmas.

Speaking earlier, Wil Bako Freeman, managing director of Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), expressed gratitude to China Harbour Engineering Company for the tremendous work, time and effort in bringing the new terminal project thus far.

“We are deeply expressed with their level of organization and execution. Thanks to our able consultants, WSP. The pre-dedication of the new passenger terminal certainly put Liberia on the map of economic recovery and a big success.

“This historic dedication today begins the process leading to the formal opening and operation of the RIA new passenger terminal and will significantly boost the chances of re-gaining our pre-war status as a regional hub in West Africa and a destination of choice for travelers,” said Mr. Freeman.

WSP is one of Canada’s Leading Engineering Consultants.

Mr. Freeman said the RIA is Liberia’s main and only international airport that became a major hub in the West African sub-region in pre-war Liberia and played home to key international air carriers.

He added that the new passenger terminal’s dedication yesterday cannot be overemphasized because the 1989 to 2003 civil crisis seriously affected the gains that were made on the airport’s infrastructure.

Since then, Freeman said, the RIA has managed its terminal and passenger operations through the old cargo facility (terminal A), which was converted as a result of the burning of the pre-war terminal, and the old KLM terminal, refurbished in 2010 and now terminal B.
He said the Ebola crisis in 2014 also had a devastating impact on the airport operations reducing the number of international and sub-regional carriers from about nine to two airlines.

As the Ebola crisis ended and the Liberian economy steadily grew, RIA also began to experience an increase in traffic due to the return of some of the major carriers with added frequencies thereby putting pressure on the current infrastructure and facilities especially the terminals, giving rise to the need for the new terminal upgrade and expansion project, he added.

“In line with our Airport Master Plan,” Mr. Freeman said “the dedication marks the first phase of the expansion project and the terminal meets International Air Transport Association regulations of class D service standards.

RIA’s Runway 04-22 finally completed by Sinohydro Corporation

The Liberia Airport Authority Board Chairman, Gbezhongar Findley, said Liberia’s economic growth and development greatly depend on the entry points of the country.

Findley said the construction of the airport comes at a critical point of President Sirleaf’s administration. “Today we can say to you, your efforts, your time you have put into this project to make it a success, we are here today as the champion of this project we want to congratulate you,” Findley told President Sirleaf.

Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Yue said the project is financed by China Exim Bank in the amount of US$50 million through a concessional loan.
He noted that the runway is funded by the Saudi Fund and the Arab Bank and supported by the United States Government.

Ambassador Zhang explained that the new terminal covers an area of more than 5000-Square meters and designed for an average annual passenger volume of approximately 320,000 persons.

He said this is the first time that China has offered a concessional loan to Liberia.
The rehabilitation project involved the excavation of significant sections of the runway, and asphalt pavement, rehabilitation of parts of the taxiways, and airside geometric improvements that include a new turn pad at the end of the runaway.

Authors

16 COMMENTS

  1. Amid intense criticisms that she doesnt have nothing to show for a dozen years in office, who would blame EJS for prededicating few of her major infrastructural achievements in the capital city. Within the last two months, while wild talk of a constitutional succession floats around, she is being showcasing the Somalia Dr. project, an expanded pier at the Free Port, and now the RIA terminal improvement.

    Needless to say, the significance of all these projects is that they will directly contribute towards Liberia’s bottom line: Increased Revenue. So we happily say, “Congratulations, Madam President. Some would want to begrudge her this sense of accomplishment with complaints that more could’ve been done. Anyway, let’s bear in mind that a little done late is always better than nothing.

  2. It is Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) who is saying that the Unity Party led government has done nothing. This is a clear indication that V.P. Boakai must continue and finish what his predecessor has initiated. The airport is still under construction and will be completed under President Joseph N. Boakai administration. The CDC leader George Weah has said nothing about what he is going to do under his presidency. Unfortunately, educated individuals like Professor Wilson Tarpeh is strongly supporting Mr. Weah for the presidency. Fellow Liberians, our country is heading in the wrong direction. V.P.Boakai on Henry Costa’s show outlined his plans for development if elected. Where are Mr.Weah’s plans for developments? None!! Fellow Liberians, you are boarding a plane or ship with no apparent destination. Come on and get on Captain Boakai’s plane or ship which has a clear destinations and overnight stops. Fellow Liberians. we all will regret tomorrow. It will be too late for you to say to your children, grandchildren, and generations yet unborn tomorrow “Had I known I would not have voted for a CDC led government.” But by then it will be too late.

  3. What does prededicating mean? have we forgotten how the person she appointed before stole and left Liberia? Everytime we see fly, we have to praise her. She did nothing besides enrich her friends. This building was to be built long ago but all her friends got rich from it before the Chinese stepped in so let us hear.

  4. Thank you Madame President. May I ask where there Liberian contractors and consultants on this great project because I need to thank them too. We should always remember that Liberia cannot develop without the direct involvement of Liberian engineers, consultants and contractors. Hope the legislature will see reason for qualified Liberian owned entities to contact at least 20% of all public contracts. Madame President, it is business and the Liberian people will repay the soft/hard loans at d end of the day. In short, let open opportunities for qualified Liberians to benefit. Thank you, Mother of d land for d new terminal. May God guide you hereafter n always.

  5. Too late! what about healthcare delivery systems. This is an investment in human beings!
    What about the educational messy system? What about the good or paved roads network
    throughout the country? This is to bring relief to so many people in the interior of the country!
    What about the Liberia Maritime money in New York (you are spending for public relations to
    promote your Government with United States you said? Does Liberia needs promotion with
    the United States? That is a wholesale corruption! If United States of America from where
    the founding and founders of Liberia came would require promotion but have done nothing
    to rid the country of corruption in high places, how in the world the people of Liberia would
    get a real development? Nothing in my view!

    While dedicating the terminal at RIA, but it came very too late. In fact, it should have been
    the 12th thing following 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, down to 1th thing to have been dedicated.
    But you made it the last thing just to fool the Liberian people!

    However, Liberians are expecting to see what the next Government will do about your
    massive stealing including sending NOCAL to Bankruptcy for which she claimed responsibility?
    The President of Liberia, of course President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to send public corporations
    that should have benefit the people to Bankruptcy. But President Ellen Sirleaf did it without
    answering any question to the Liberia people. Will she answer therm after office or will she
    pay the money back because Liberia needs that money plus the Maritime money to do
    development!

  6. Thank you Madame President for your leadership! Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you and our people!
    Sincerely,
    Madame Henrietta Victoria Kandakai
    Former Senatorial Candidate, Grand Cape Mount County

  7. Boone,
    Is a criminal for someone to resemble another person? As a child of your loving parents, does it matter if you resemble your mom or dad?

    Boone, why would any intelligent person lol at a man who resembles someone else?

    Be serious Boone.

  8. Wrong, not wring!
    Goodness, I quit for the evening! Stupid mistakes on my phone. My computer thinks it knows what I want to type. Instead, it misspells words.

    Sorry gentlemen and ladies.

  9. Thanks Madam President…give the Doe community and the entire Gardnersville swamp to the Chinese to rebuild Monrovia…
    Concession loan can cover and project on earth !
    #vision2025

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