GIA: The killer airline of our time?
The motto in Sierra Leone should be nobody cares. This means nobody cares when it comes to negative practices in our country. Nobody cares when the country is going astray, and equally nobody cares when an airline operating in the country decides to take actions inimical to the travellers whose monies they have accepted for a job not done. This brings us to the issue of the Gambia International Airlines (GIA).
The GIA is operating under what can only be considered as dubious and questionable means. This is the airline which operates with no consideration for the passengers as shown in the recent case which they manifested.
Which better way to kill someone than in taking money for services not provided? The GIA has now made a name for itself as an unreliable airline which is operating against the laws and regulations of our nation’s aviation rules.
Then there is also the safety and reliability of the GIA aircrafts. How safe and airworthy can an airline be if it is daily being halted from providing services because of faulty engines? And what can travellers expect from an airline that is always complaining of problems in not providing the services for which it is operating?
The issue of questionable operations undertaken by airlines and other air travel agencies has now become phenomenal in our aviation history. Corruption resulted in the death of a Togolese Minister and members of his delegations in this country when the faulty helicopter they were travelling in crashed at the Lung International Airport apron, killing all onboard.
The present Minister of Transport and Aviation is not, it seems, committed to his job, but still continues to see himself as a surrogate minister waiting the return of the real minister. The Transport and Aviation minister has gone into a cocoon wherein he prefers to leave all matters in the hands of a clique which continues to maintain their corrupt status quo, a status quo that had accepted bribes in accepting faulty helicopters to fly in our country, and the same clique that worked in concert with drug Mafioso to use our country as a transit point for hard drugs.
There is a sinister syndrome which might be called the ‘wait and kill’ syndrome. This means that all governments in the country have always manifested a latent lackadaisical attitude when it comes to matters affecting the general good.
The same system was seen when rebels had a free time entering this country in the nineties and set up camp before the government of Joseph Saidu Momoh could be forced into action. Under Valentine Strasser, a laid back approach to our aviation sector resulted in the crash of an Antonov killer plane in the Tongo Fields, thankfully, only the pilot of the decrepit plane, which was registered as a commercial airline in Sierra Leone, died in the crash.
The same syndrome was shown when former president Tejan-Kabbah preferred to sit by placidly while the soldiers and the kamajors were battling it out. It resulted in his government being exiled, including the death of thousands and the reversals of development before Kabbah could act.
Also, it took the death of a Togolese minister and his entourage before the government decided to investigate and arrest government officers, including the then Minister of Transport.
In our own time, it took the killing of a police man said to have been engaged in armed robbery before President Ernest Bai Koroma decided to take the decision of proclaiming a stringent measure to counter the problem. All this shows that there is a problem with the Sierra Leonean psyche as far as the issue of safety and the nation’s security is concerned.
We are therefore calling on the Transport Minister to wake up from his slumber and act now.
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