Civil Aviation announces reopen of Banjul airport after temporal closure

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The managing director of The Gambia Civil Aviation, Abdoulie Jammeh, has announced over the state broadcaster (Radio Gambia) that the temporal closure of the Banjul International Airport has been lifted after the problem has been resolved.

The news came after the government convened a press briefing at which it announced the closure of the airport for 48 hours.

Alhagie Nyangado, the director of Strategic Policy and Delivery at the Office of the President, who was speaking to journalists earlier Wednesday at State House said the current breakdown of an aircraft at the airport had nothing to do with birds strikes as earlier perceived by the government, noting it’s an engine problem and that “we are working on that. We’re reliably informed that the airport is closed for 48 hours but it has nothing to do with the birds strike,” he said.

This information came to light amid a mechanical fault of an aircraft that had a breakdown on the runway.

He said: “If this continues the repercussion is that Gambia will be declared unsafe for landing. Gambians will not have the liberty to fly from Banjul airport for the fact that no plane will come to Banjul airport and that we will be forced to go to Senegal which is so inconvenient; not to talk about the economic damage that we will be facing with,” he added.

The issue of the bird’s strikes at the airport, he went on, was discussed at the presidency on Tuesday and that a taskforce has been initiated. Mr. Nyangado stated that: “As long as that plane is on the runway no other plane can land. So virtually, our airport is closed. Therefore, it’s our collective responsibility to take charge of it before it’s too late.”

“We are coordinating with all stakeholders on this endeavour, so that we’re able to remove the dumpsite around the airport which is the main cause of the bird’s strikes around the airport,” he opined. Key among the issues that needed to be sorted out immediately, he said, was to remove the dumpsite around the airport and also to be killing the birds.”

Mai Ahmed Fatty, special adviser to President Barrow, urged communities living around the airport to manage their waste effectively. “We should not be in the habit of throwing garbage everywhere. Government has a role to play and that they are performing that. However, there is need for attitudinal change. If you have waste at your house or you’re in a vehicle why do you throw it away?”

“The immediate measures that have to do with the birds strikes around the airport are of fundamental importance to government. Government is going to mobilise enough resources in order to make sure that we deal with the immediate threats. The communities around the airport have a role to play. They should come all out to support us.”

Fatty described the issues as emergency national security issues, saying “we have to clean our environment.”

He finally assured the international partners and stakeholders in the tourism industry and the hotels that the government was treating the matter with urgency and it’s a top priority for the presidency.

Author: Momodou Jawo