Liberia: ‘Aeroplane Mechanic’ or Aviation Expert? Credentials of Pres. Weah’s Nominee for Liberia Airport Authority Comes under Scrutiny

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MONROVIA – The credentials of President George Weah’s preferment for Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority, Mr. Darlington Karnley, has come under heavy criticism with many condemning the President for such a choice amid huge challenges the Roberts International Airport is faced with.

The Executive Mansion in a press release on Wednesday made the disclosure of the new appointment and stated that Mr. Karnley comes to the portfolio with a rich field of Aviation and is a Master’s Degree Candidate in Aviation Management from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Philadelphia.

The Executive Mansion further stated that Mr. Karnley works at Boeing, America’s leading aircraft manufacturer as Avionics Tech Specialist Manager, managing all installations, inspections, tests, adjustments, or repairs to avionics equipment, such as radar, radio, navigation, and missile control systems in aircraft or space vehicles.

He is also an Aviation Maintenance Technician in Airframe and Powerplant.

Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics are certified generalist mechanics who can independently perform many maintenance and alteration tasks on aircraft. A&P mechanics repair and maintain most parts of an aircraft, including the engines, landing gear, brakes, and air-conditioning system.

Contrary to the Executive Mansion’s disclosure, Mr. Karnley has never worked for Boeing, nor is he a master’s degree candidate at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. The institution, according to its website, is a non-degree-granting institution and is basically a vocational training institute.

Commenting on his appointment, Massa Dopoh, a Liberian based in the United States posted to Facebook:

We just contacted Boeing and the dude is not on their staff list. The people are thoroughly searching for Lib’s newest appointee. He doesn’t have any of those credentials listed! It’s okay to have a presidential appointment but don’t steal credentials that others are sacrificing to acquire! Shame on him! WHY DO PEOPLE LIE though? I mean it’s so sad. Go put in the danm work like everyone else if it’s that important. I don’t give a rat if a toddler is appointed by the president of Liberia but don’t steal academic credentials. TAKE OUT THE FRAUDULENT CREDENTIALS FROM THE PRESS RELEASE AND CONFIRM HIM. IT IS THE GREATEST FRAUD!

Adolphus Mccritty Sr. also commented:

What I do know is that anybody with a high floating resume like that and works for Boeing will never ever consider trading the salary and benefits that come with it for a managing director job in Africa let alone Liberia where the pay scale is so low and you go months without receiving your salary and benefits.

Many have called on the President to withdraw the nomination.

His appointment comes at a time when the airport is faced with several daunting challenges, mainly electricity.

In late April, Brussels Airlines, the only airline flying from Europe directly to Liberia had to hover over Liberian airspace for several minutes before landing in Sierra Leone after it aborted an initial landing at the Roberts International Airport due because the runway was dark.

Before diverting the flight, the pilot announced: “I would like to inform you that the airport in Monrovia is closed and there is no electricity at the moment. They’re trying to fix it, but we have some fuel to do a few miles; but until now, we don’t have any contact at the airport of Monrovia so we have decided to go back to Freetown. In Freetown, we will see if we can take some fuel and what the decision would be next…”

This was the second incident in three months. The first was in February when Royal Air Maroc aborted landing at the RIA for the same reason and diverted to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The airport blamed the unfortunate incident on the airport crew responsible for lighting at the airport and vowed to take punitive actions against those responsible.

In a statement, the Liberia Airport Authority denied that the airport was of electricity at the time SN Brussels attempted landing, but said there was a “technical glitch”. According to the airport management, the issue was resolved in record time.

RIA Management: “At no time, during or before this technical occurrence, was there a power outage at the Roberts International Airport, nor was the airport ever closed. The approach control was in communication with the Aircraft at all times until they made the decision to divert.

“Management reassures all airport users that we are committed to ensuring their safety.”

At the same time, the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA), the regulatory body for the aviation sector, in a statement expressed concern over the incident involving SN Brussels.

“We are grateful that the plane safely landed at the RIA that night, following several frantic efforts by the Liberia Airport Authority and the Roberts International Airport Management,” the LCAA stated.

According to the LCAA, its technical team is working on preventive measures with the Liberia Airport Authority to ensure that there is no future occurrence.

“As a regulatory body, we can assure the public that we will conduct an independent and thorough investigation into the situation in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards,” the LCAA stated.

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