Air France Set To Resume Flights To Liberia In 2020
Monrovia – Air France is expected to resume flights to Liberia, five years after it took a decision to a decision to end its biweekly flights.
Transport Minister Sam Wlue confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Monday that the airlines notified the Liberian government of its intention to resume its Liberia route after months of negotiations.
Mr. Jean Luc Mévellec, the airlines regional manager informed the minister that the Roberts International Airport will be among its new destinations beginning 2020.
In 2014, the airline ended its Liberia route, attributing to little profit margins and a number of issues with the runway at the Roberts International Airport.
The airline had endured a turbulent run in Liberia.
In 2012, poor and dilapidated runaway at the Roberts International Airport inflicted damage on an AF752 which caused a rugged landing with damage set at almost a half a million dollars.
The forced landing Plane’s bottom right, main landing gear, hydraulic holes, brakes, and right main landing gear axle assembly ruined during a landing mishap. Perhaps the incident sparked the writing on the wall for the airline amid reports that Air France Airlines was contemplating ending its route to Liberia.
At the time Air France took its exit, the RIA’s runway was in poor condition and needed work.
In 2013, Sirleaf acknowledged that the country was in desperate need of upgrading its international airport to meet international standards after aviation advisors cautioned that the airport could lose flights due to the poor state of its runway and its inadequately trained staff.
The Sirleaf administration made the upgrade of the RIA a priority toward the end of her term in office, resulting in the construction of a new terminal.
The airport had not had any major upgrades since 1970.
Sirleaf said in 2013 that her government recognized the issue and made it a priority after being told by engineers that the runway is in particularly bad shape with the asphalt has deteriorated, leading to dangerous cracks and potholes, which contributed to an incident with Air France, that prompted it to leave Liberia.
In addition to Air France, Major international carriers, like British Airways, which previously operated direct flights between Monrovia and Europe and Delta Airlines which operated a flight to and from New York that connecting through Accra all cut off Liberia. It is not clear what days or how many days a week the airline will fly once it resumes operation but in 2004, AIR FRANCE and KLM merged to form the AIR FRANCE-KLM Group.
Today, only SN Brussels, Royal Air Maroc and several intra-African carriers also use the airport.