Ahead of its upcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Audit, the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Bureau ( BAGAIA) has said a lot of progress has been made with the Sierra Leone Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau ( SL-AAIB) and the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SL- CAA) to ensure the country’s readiness to play in the globally stage.
Commissioner of BAGAIA, Engineer Charles Irikefe Erhueh made this known in a meeting with the Sierra Leone Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Moinama Kallon at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Freetown Sierra Leone after BAGAIA’s five-day Assistance Mission to the West African country.
According to Erhueh, BAGAIA and the SL have been able to make progress in the country’s Civil Aviation Act 2023 Bill (the Act), the regulations i.e SL-CAR part 13 which deals with aircraft accident and incident investigation, compliance checklists and have completed the State Aviation Activity Questionnaire (SAAQ), ICAO Protocol Questions (PQs) as well as restructuring the Bureau’s Organogram.
The BAGAIA helmsman also said the combined team from both the Regional Accident Investigation Organisation ( RAIO) and Sierra Leone have reviewed the Training Manual as well as drawn up career progression of staff.
The Commissioner further added that the staff of the Bureau needs basic/in-house training on accident investigation hence the need to have its secondees from Nigeria on time to put them through.
He however harped on funding again, urging the Minister to make a commitment towards the payment of the subscription that the BAG- group agreed on to ensure Assistance Missions like what is currently happening is replicated in other climes in need.
According to him, BAGAIA ought to have been in Sierra Leone long before now but was hindered due to paucity of funds. Sierra Leone Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Kabineh Moinama Kallon who responded to the issue of outstanding subscription said he would discuss with his DG SL-CAA, Commissioner SL-AAIIB and see how the country can make payment despite low finances.
He however said as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, it will be difficult for him to speak to other ministers regarding payment of subscriptions if his country has not paid, stressing, “I need to lead by example”.
Speaking on the upcoming audit, the Minister appreciated BAGAIA stressing it has been very helpful to SL-AAIIB.
“We have promised the president of Sierra Leone that we are going to pass the ICAO Audit this time around. For a long time now, Sierra Leone is yet to pass the ICAO Audit but with all these relevant assistance offered by BAGAIA alongside other organisations, we are confident that we will pass it this time around.”
In attendance of the meeting were: The Honourable Minister of Transport and Aviation Hon. Kabineh Moinama Kallon, BAGAIA Commissioner Engr.Charles Irikefe Erhueh, Director General of Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority( SL-CAA), Dr. Moses Tiffa Baio, Commissioner of Sierra Leone Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau( SL-AAIIB) Engr.Olubunmi Wellington and BAGAIA Technical support/Training Director Engr.Ameh Samuel.