Delta makes historic flight to Roberts International Airport. Sirleaf cuts ribbon

Delta makes historic flight to Roberts International Airport. Sirleaf cuts ribbon

Posted: September 7, 2010

The first direct international flight to Liberia in more than twenty years has landed at the main and refurbished national terminal Roberts International Airport (RIA), some 32 miles outside of the capital Monrovia over the weekend.

The maiden flight of Delta Airlines was temporarily delayed about 3 months ago due to security and safety concerns registered by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) which oversees such arrangements.

Liberia’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the TSA in April, 2009 signed an agreement to enhance aviation security.

According to a TSA press statement issued at the time, “The two entities signed a Joint Statement of Intent for the development and enhancement of aviation security initiatives, including plans to conduct assessments, develop aviation security programs and share best practices. To support this partnership, TSA has deployed an Aviation Security Sustainable International Standards Team (ASSIST), a group of veteran security experts, to collaborate with local security officials.”

Liberia is the second nation to participate in TSA’s ASSIST following the island of St. Lucia.

The Delta Airline flight to Liberia represents the resumption of direct air flight between Liberia and the United States since cancellation due to the civil war in Liberia. Efforts had been underway since 2008 to restore direct flights to Liberia but this was delayed while Liberia was required to upgrade its safety, security and airport systems to meet international standards.

The Liberian President has been lobbying the US Government for approval to re-open direct air links between the two countries. A major black American business mogul Mr. Robert (Bob) Johnson, who owns and operates a 78 room luxurious beach-side tourist resort and spa outside of Monrovia, in an area formerly known as Kendeja, has also been quietly lobbying his Government to sign off on the direct flight between the US and Liberia.

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