Securiport’s $ 25 Security Fee Levied on Travelers is Justifiable & Tenable

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Freetown International Airport

By Amin Kef-Ranger

One of the topical issues in various social circles is the recent public notification that all passengers departing and arriving at the Freetown International Airport with effect from 1st July, 2022 should pay a security fee of $25 to Securiport Sierra Leone, to enable authorities to ensure safety of passengers at the Airport and the country.  Although it is mooted in some quarters that such will not hold because adequate consultations were not done with the relevant authorities in the aviation industry, however, from what this medium has so far learnt is that the current sitting SLPP Government is not against the levy, which has been in existence and an integral part of the agreement that was signed with Securiport Sierra Leone.

As a matter of fact, Securiport is a reputable American technology firm which signed a contract with the Government of Sierra Leone in March 2012 to provide traveler, airport and civil aviation security systems. It is on record that the company’s systems are the most advanced in the world and provided within the framework of a comprehensive civil aviation security service. Apart from the biometric identification of travelers and a number of security features installed in the airport, the company provides all the elements to identify potential criminals attempting to enter and leave the country on commercial flights , applying advanced artificial intelligence methods.

When the contract was signed between Securiport and the Government one of the terms stated that fees are to be collected from the end users of the civil aviation security services, that is, the international airline passengers who will be processed on arrival and departure. Initially, it was the idea that Government will ask the airlines to collect the fee from passengers.  Unfortunately it did not work that way and therefore it became the responsibility of Government to pay the fees but regrettably that was again not done. But that did not deter the company from continuing to render its services as per agreement using its own resources.

This medium reliably learnt that when this ruling SLPP Government took charge of State Governance it critically looked at the work the company had been and is still doing. Quite pleased and satisfied that the company is doing exceptionally well this Government agreed to be paying the much talked about security fee and has been clearing backlog payments.

For now the only snag is that bordering around adequate consultations not being held with all the relevant stakeholders in the aviation industry before the company’s notification of commencement of collecting $25 starting the 1st July 2022. It was learnt also that negotiations are currently underway and very soon an agreeable position will be reached and payment of the fee will take place. It is noted that it is a standard fee that is paid in all the international airports as part of a network that links Sierra Leone with other countries, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism and international crime to ensure the safety and at the same time protect the country from the infiltration of terrorists and criminals who may attempt entering the country.

Indisputably, Securiport’s Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services are comprehensive security products which can secure biometric recognition of travelers at immigration posts, provides proprietary systems for the identification of potential security risks, criminal activity and disease prevention based on the comparison and multi-dimensional analysis of the biometric data and traveler information collected during immigration processing.

The company’s integrated immigration control system is giving the Government access to airport security technology needed to very passenger identities and check travel document authenticity. Using a real-time connection to Interpol the company has instant access to terrorist watch lists, no-fly lists, fraudulent document lists, and other critical information.

Although it is understandable that things are economically difficult, however, the issue of compromising security at the country’s airport should not be allowed. In this age of terrorism, drug, and human trafficking the need to have an effective and efficient security system at the Lungi International airport could not be overemphasized. With all justification, it is the traveler who must bear the brunt. The $25 security fee is therefore in place and tenable.

Freetown International Airport

1 COMMENT

  1. Nonsense!

    You can pay the same 25 pounds to fly 3hrs from the UK to another country. So what is the security fee in one paying £25 for an international flight.

    It is a complete rip off.

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