Liberia Airport Authority Nominee Admits to Lacking First Degree, Asked by Lawmakers to Seek the Recall of His Preferment


MONROVIA – Senators Prince Moye, Edwin Snowe and Darius Dillon were blunt with Mr. Darlington Karnley – he won’t get their confirmation votes as they have also advised him to seek the withdrawal of his nomination from the President’s office.

Karnley was nominated by President Weah to head the Liberia Airport Authority at a time when the country’s only international airport has been faced with a litany of issues confronting its smooth operations and safety of travelers.

These challenges which range from electricity, and logistics to technical gaps have forced to the airport to cease 24-hour operation and some flights had to revisit their schedules.

He was nominated by the President on May 4, 2022.

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

 The Executive Mansion also stated that he is an Aviation Maintenance Technician in Airframe and Powerplant.

Mr. Karnley, according to the Mansion, comes to the portfolio with a rich background in the field of Aviation and is a Master’s Degree Candidate in Aviation Management from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Philadelphia.

However, at his confirmation hearing on Monday, Karnley told the lawmakers that he does not have a first degree, but rather a certificate in Aviation Maintenance with an emphasis on Airframe and Powerplant.

He told the Senate Committee that the credentials published on the President’s official website do not represent his true qualifications and experience.

He disclosed that he does not have a first degree, nor a master’s degree as falsely published by the Executive Mansion.

However, the Act establishing the Liberia Airport Authority stipulates that the Managing Director must have a first degree, among other qualifications.

However, giving reasons why he should be confirmed for the post, Karnley said: “I went to aviation school in the US, the Aviation Institute for Maintenance (AIM) – a 21-month training in Aircraft engineering. I stayed an additional six months to learn how to work on the brain of the plane. It’s a professional certificate of 190 credit hours. In this field, we do more certificates to certify us for certain programs.

“What makes me feel I am qualified for this job is because of my training as an aviator. I understand what it means for providing air safety and security. We have to provide safety as required by the international aviation body.”

Karnley went on to criticize the current security and safety standards at the Roberts International Airport. He disclosed that the airport has no functioning ambulance to handle any unforeseen emergency.

“The ambulance at the airport can’t start, when a flight is coming, they only put the light on so that it would look like it is working,” he said.

He further disclosed that the navigation lights at the RIA are archaic and controlled manually, therefore, in the event that the person responsible to turn it on decides to leave his post, flights would be endangered.

He also said the RIA scored 26 of 100 in recent safety audit and has been asked to improve to at least 60.

His critique of the Roberts International Airport did not go down well with Senator Edwin Snowe who claimed that those disclosures were untrue.

Senator Snowe further indicated that the position to which he has been nominated has security implications, therefore, for him to make such a disclosure in the public has put the country and its image at serious risk and for that matter, he does not deserve to serve in that capacity.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Transport Committee, Senator Daniel Flomo-Naathan of Gbarpolu County concluded the hearing by indicating that the Committee will conduct an investigation based on the contradiction regarding Mr. Karnley’s credentials placed on the Executive Mansion website and that of what he presented to the Committee before a report is submitted to the full Plenary of the Senate for subsequent actions.