Ellen Dedicates Modern Terminal At RIA

After several years of dwindling in its wretched state, the Roberts International Airport (RIA) is upgraded to meet international standard of aviation with the construction of a state-of-the-art 5000 square meters passenger terminal that would hold about 320,000 passengers per annum and the excavation of significant session of Runway 04-22, rehabilitation of parts of the taxiways, airside geometric improvements including a new turn-pad at runway end 04, widening of taxi fillets, grading of the runway strip, storm-water drainage improvements, taxiway and runway marking and rehabilitation of the aeronautical ground lighting system. The projects were separately dedicated on Monday, December 18, 2017 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as part of efforts to pave the way for her successor in 2018.
Speaking at the ceremony at the RIA in Lower Margibi County, President Johnson-Sirleaf said the airport modernization project is an indication that the Liberian government is fulfilling one of its key deliverables. She said the dedication of the new passenger terminal and runway will give the Robert International Airport (RIA) a new look and put Liberia on par with other international airports in the West African sub-region and the rest of Africa and world at large.
“In 2006, when we assumed the leadership of the country, we were faced with several hard choices; one of those hard choices was the RIA; we faced a runway constructed in the 1970s, with no periodic maintenance and therefore largely deteriorated – causing difficulties to landing planes. We also know that we had a terminal that had been destroyed and what was being used was really most in adequate for those coming to our country for various occasions. Then we looked to other needs of the country, schools, hospitals, payroll that needed to be met and met on time continually, power and water, all the things that came out of two decades of conflict and the destruction that resulted,” President Sirleaf noted.
She expressed gratitude to Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yue, and through him to Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping for the continued support provided Liberia and the partnership that “continues to grow stronger and stronger between China and Liberia.” She stressed that China is always willing to demonstrate partnership. She also thanked China for bringing great relief to Liberia including the Ministerial complex and the Annexes at the Legislature.
The Liberian leader used the occasion to call on Liberians to embrace development and desist from hate and false information and work together to be able to achieve adding: “It could not have happened if everyone involved did not play their part.” she said.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Wil Bako Freeman said the dedicatory ceremony was the LAA’s way of celebrating the “historic roof-capping of the Roberts International Airport Terminal Upgrade and Expansion project, which has been ongoing since President Johnson-Sirleaf broke grounds on November 21, 2016.”
“Your Excellency, I am pleased to announce that Roberts International Airport New Passenger Terminal’s entire building shell which includes the foundation and superstructure, curtain wall system, glass and aluminum panels and roofing system is ready for this roof-capping ceremony today.
This historic roof-capping today begins the process leading to the formal opening and operation of the Roberts International Airport’s New Passenger Terminal by the middle of 2018 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,” MD Freeman stated.
The LAA Boss gave special recognition and thanks to the China Harbour Engineering Company, the Chinese company contracted to construct the modern facility, for the tremendous work, time and effort in bringing our New Terminal project thus far.
He added “we are deeply impressed with their level of organization and execution of this project. Thanks to our able Consultants, WSP for their expertise and guidance during the design review process as well as current site supervision to ensure quality outcome. We are also grateful to the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM BANK) for the level of trust and confidence in our Government and the LAA, which led to the successful conclusion and signing of the Loan Agreement to fund this all important national project.”
For his part, Chinese Ambassador, Zhan Yue said the RIA Airport project is a typical example of efficient cooperation and coordination among governments, financiers, contractors and supervisors in the process of approval and project implementation. Speaking further, he noted that with the rehabilitated runway, brand new passenger terminal building, Ministerial Complex and Annexes of the Legislature building, the Liberian government can provide better service to its people and improve capacity to facilitate the flow of passengers and goods. “I believe this can help usher in more airlines and inject dynamism to recovery of Liberia,” he added.
He congratulated President Sirleaf and noted that as a follow up of her visit to China and the Chinese Government and the EXIM Bank of China set up the new terminal building project in an unprecedented way.
The US$50 million project is being financed by a loan from the China EXIM Bank and the construction is being undertaken by the China Harbor Engineering Company. Along with the construction of the passenger terminal, US$30 million was earmarked for the rehabilitation of a runway which began in September 2016. That project is funded through loans and with financing from the Saudi Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and the Liberian government.

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About Cholo Brooks 13357 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.