By Morrison O.G. Sayon
About US$326 million is needed to rehabilitate the Roberts International Airport in Unification Town, Margibi County; Mr. Gyude Moore of the project Delivery Unit of the Executive Mansion/Ministry of State has disclosed.
Addressing the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Moore said government has a 25-year development plan which also requires US$326 million for the RIA to guide Management in rehabilitating the airport.
Moore said of this amount, US$164 million is needed to rehabilitate the runway of the RIA and that the Government is in search of private companies to undertake the project. Mr. Moore said there are several companies that have expressed interest in rebuilding or constructing a new airport for Liberia including Chinese, Dutch, French companies among others.
He said Government’s intent now is to find any possible means to build a new airport. He intimated that Equatorial Guinea has expressed interest in building a modern Airport for Liberia and that the Liberian Government is in discussion with other partners for the construction of a modern airport.
Earlier, Mr. Richelieu A. Williams, Director General of the Liberia Aviation Authority (LAA) said the runway at the RIA has deteriorated to the extent that government needs to begin doing something to remedy the situation.
Mr. Williams said presently Liberia stands at zero in the category of ranking Airports in the world. He said government must do something to upgrade the runway. Williams said Management has written the Liberian Government to improve the airport.
“With its present condition, if any plane crashes here, Liberia will be fully responsible for that crash and that is why we need to improve our runway,” Mr. Williams stated. He added that the runway is being patched by government to allow air craft land at the RIA.
“We are opting for the rehabilitation of the tower; UN (AYATA) came here to assess our facilities at the RIA and they have given us 56 days to meet the minimum standard and if we can’t meet the minimum standard, Arab planes will not be landing here,” Mr. Williams stated.
He said Delta Airline has spent US$800,000 to check the GPA of the RIA system and it took the airline 7 months to design the airport. He said the Airline is patching the runway which needs to be overlaid and that there is serious leakage in the terminal of the RIA which Management is trying to uplift soon.