ICAO Applauds Sierra Leone’s Efforts in Exploring Sustainable Aviation Solutions

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By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Minister of Transport and Aviation, Alhaji Fandy Turay, represented Sierra Leone’s stance on air transport growth and carbon emission reduction at a significant event held on April 30, 2024, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The focus of the gathering was collaboration on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) between ENAC, ENI, and the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority.

In his keynote address, the Transport Minister, Alhaji Fandy Turay, underscored Sierra Leone’s recognition of aviation’s pivotal role in facilitating movement, economic stimulation and cultural exchange globally. He noted how Sierra Leone is committed to the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Highlighting the country’s progress, the Minister disclosed that annual traffic at the Freetown International Airport (FNA) surged from 140,000 in 2017 to 220,000 presently, following significant infrastructure investment. He pointed out that notably, the new airport facility prioritizes green energy, powered by solar energy, aligning with Sierra Leone’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

The Minister emphasized the importance of collective action, stating that achieving net-zero emissions requires collaboration among States, ensuring regulatory certainty, a level playing field and consistent policies in the aviation industry.

He emphasized the critical need for improved technologies and skilled human resources to address industry challenges effectively.

Recognizing aviation’s indispensable role in economic growth and cultural exchange, the Transport Minister, Fanday Turay, stressed the importance of safety, security and environmental protection. He called for enhanced training and capacity-building efforts, particularly in Africa, to address the upcoming generational shift in aviation professionals.

On her part, the Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority, Madam Musayeroh Barrie, disclosed plans for collaboration with the Italian Civil Aviation Authority to explore studies into the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Madam Musayeroh Barrie proudly informed the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Juan Carlos Salazar, that Sierra Leone is poised to embark on studies for the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), following fruitful engagements with the Italian Civil Aviation Authority.

According to her, preliminary assessments, conducted in collaboration with ENAC and the primary Italian fuel producer, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), indicate that Sierra Leone holds significant potential as a producer of agricultural feedstocks and intermediate products, particularly vegetable oil, aimed at the production of biological SAF.

She emphasized the pivotal role of aviation in sustainable agricultural development, a cornerstone of President Julius Maada Bio’s initiatives underscoring the importance of a multi-sectoral approach in expediting progress towards that goal.

The occasion coincided with the ICAO Global Implementation Support Symposium, themed: “Building Capacity to Achieve an Effective and Sustainable Air Transportation System for Our Future.”

Sierra Leone’s proactive approach extends to airport infrastructure development, exemplified by the ambitious project with SUMMA, a Turkish company, to construct a new airport with state-of-the-art facilities.

Looking ahead, Sierra Leone aims to foster collaboration within the aviation industry to meet future human resource challenges, enhance on-the-job experience and ensure program standardization aligned with competency-based frameworks. By pursuing sustainable solutions and international cooperation, Sierra Leone demonstrates its commitment to a greener more efficient aviation sector.


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