Airport Authority Begins Rehabilitating RIA’s Runways

UNIFICATION CITY, Margibi – The Liberia Airport Authority has announced the commencement of work on 11,000 feet of runways at the Roberts International Airport.

The project is estimated at US$30 million and began on Jan. 14. It is expected to be completed in July, according to LAA.

The project is funded through loans and other types of financing from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and the Liberian government. Meanwhile Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese firm, is implementing the project.

The work will include installing Aeronautical Ground Lighting systems on runways 04-22. The Netherlands Airport Consultants are providing engineering consultancy to the project.

LAA disclosed in a press release that the airport would remain active during the project. “As passengers take off and descend at RIA, new pavement works would be seen, as the airport moves on to a world-class facility,” it said.

LAA Managing Director Wil Bako Freeman said a fully rehabilitated runway will create the opportunity for Liberia to attract additional airlines.

Freeman said he is optimistic that the project will be completed as scheduled, stressing that the contractor is working at a high speed.

He added that the project is being monitored for compliance by the LAA Project Implementation Unit, headed by a qualified Liberian Engineer, Anthony Togba, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Works.

He maintained that the runway pavement would meet international aviation standards and pledged the management’s supervision to ensure that all goals are met.

“The runway pavement project and that of RIA New Terminal Complex will be implemented simultaneously,” he said.

A Liberian businessman and frequent traveler, Anthony Hodge, says he welcomes the development.

“This is good news for our country. It sets the stage for bigger investments and national development,” Hodge said.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf broke ground for the pavement and the construction of a US$50 million passenger terminal at RIA on Nov. 21 last year.

Sirleaf said the projects would bring transformation to the country.

“Improving the airport will be a milestone in Liberia’s social and economic development,” she said, adding that modernizing the airport will further promote economic growth and development for all Liberians.

Sirleaf explained that the delay in improving the airport was a result of competing interests.

“RIA had to be put aside for some other emergency priorities in the interest of the country,” she said. “We feel ashamed especially when we have strangers visiting Liberia, but I’m so glad that finally, we can have an airport that will meet international standards.”

Featured photo courtesy of Ebenezer Wilson

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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