Construction work on the new terminal and upgrading of the runway at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) is gradually taking shape as contractors working around the clock to give the airline an international outlook.
The new terminal is expected to ease the pressure on the existing terminals and improve infrastructure on-ground that is in line with the growing international travel demand, and position the country as an attractive aviation hub in the sub-region.
Once completed and handed over to the government, the terminal will be capable of processing hundreds of passengers given that the airport officials will be able to monitor the level of the work done at the airport terminal.
The RIA runway project is funded through loans and additional financing from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Liberian government while Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese firm, is implementing the project.
The total cost of the RIA runway project is US$30 million.
According to Windell Reeves, airport engineer, the construction work is currently on-going on the ultra-modern international terminal. The terminal is designed to accommodate thousands passengers and will have two boarding bridges.
Mr. Reeves, who spoke to a team of journalists on Friday, July 20, at the RIA, said the ongoing construction and upgrading of the runway is to ensure that the airport meets global standard.
He added that the authority, being also mindful of the plight of the physically challenged and aged persons will provide lift and escalators at the departure hall.
“Improving the airport will be a milestone in Liberia’s social and economic development,” he said, adding that modernizing the airport will further promote economic growth and development for all Liberians.
After the completion, “we will also begin with the installation taxiway lights.”
For his part, managing director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Wil Bako Freeman, said upon completion, the airport will help to ease passengers’ facilitation as well as increase passengers’ volume.
He said, “The reason we are trying to undertake these projects at the airport is to ensure that under my administration, RIA becomes one of the best and most modernized airports. Many of us travel every day and see other airports in different countries, we get quite embarrassed, especially when we think of our own back home—the RIA that needs to be improved and standardized.”
“The best way to explain something is to show what is happening and this why we invited you all to come and actually see what we have done.
“We are working very actively on the runway and the terminal project,” Freeman said.
According to him, people always talked about the airport being the first face of the country and so “we looking at improving that significantly, so that’s what we’re quite working on.”
“Everybody recognized that this is something that needed to be done, though it is overdue, but I can tell you guys that we will soon be there, adding that, “As you can see, all of these things that people talked about — the airport city and revitalization of the areas — so that is what we are trying to do; new terminal, new office building, new runway.