The Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), Musayeroh Barrie, delivered a climatic address at the Facilitation 2024 (FAL. 2024) Global Summit, held from May 20-22, 2024, at the King Abdul Azia International Conference Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) summit, addressed various facilitation areas of Annex 9, and offered an excellent opportunity for ICAO to collaborate with its Member States and the aviation community to highlight the significance of air transport Facilitation in the efficient conduct of air transport operations and to enhance global awareness of Annex 9 Standards and Recommended Practices; in a bid to improving global aviation security, enhancing the passenger experience and provided a platform for aviation leaders to share insights and strategies, reinforcing the global commitment to secure an efficient air travel

In her closing panel address on “Facilitating the Air Traveller Journey” on May 22, Madam Barrie emphasized on the importance of proactive measures to counter evolving threats to civil aviation, She detailed various security challenges including insider threats, cyber-attacks, drone-related risks, and armed assaults on airport landside area.

Despite Sierra Leone’s modest aviation sector, Madam Barrie stressed that these issues are globally relevant. “As the travelling population continues to increase, governments, airlines and airports are required to adapt their processes to maintain the safety and the security of their operations while enabling smooth facilitation process”

The Director General stated that the goal is to streamline processes, reduce congestion at departure control points, and enhance passenger and crew experiences worldwide while upholding high standards of security and safety mandates, She proposed several strategies to achieve those goals such as;

-Airport Design – The Terminal Building should facilitate passenger processing within 60 minutes Outbound and 40 minutes Inbound, including provisions for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRMs). This should also cater for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRMs)

-Training and Awareness: Personnel from key facilitation agencies should be well-versed in ICAO Annexes 9 and 17, emphasizing the link between security and facilitation. Ongoing training and awareness sessions on emerging security issues are crucial.

-Agency Roles: Musayeroh Barie, outlined the roles of various agencies involved in airport operations, including airport operators, immigration, customs, security, port health, and airlines. Each has specific responsibilities to ensure smooth and secure passenger processing

She went futher to highlight that Sierra Leone’s progress through the ICAO assistance mission in 2021, which provided virtual training for stakeholders on implementing Annex 9. She also mentioned the development of an Airport Facilition Program to streamline passenger and baggage processing. She added that Sierra Leone has also approved a national health emergency response plan, incorporation lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure coordinated responses to health emergencies through simulation exercises and that with the support from the UNOCT program and national authorities. Sierra Leone has developed and approved Advance Passenger Information (APT) regulations, managed by the Central Intelligence Security Agency. The country is also preparing to join the API & Public Key Directory (PKD) and train airport staff on pandemic and disruptive passenger behaviour procedures.

Additionally, the Civil Aviation Director General discussed the formation of a National Air Transport Facilitation Committee to address facilitation and securities issues collaboratively.
Hence to enhance passenger experience, customs has installed a cargo scanner for inbound passengers, an escalator for PRMs, and designed routes for staff, VIPs and cabin crew to reduce congestion at screening points.

Musayeroh Barrie concluded by highlighting the importance of written programs at both airport and national levels to define roles and responsibilities clearly, ensuring all players in the рassenger journey are aligned in addressing facilitation challenges

This event aimed to raise awareness of the global regulatory framework established by Annex 9 — Facilitation with the objective of reaching a global consensus on shared best practices that will allow Member States and stakeholders to ensure an excellent passenger experience throughout the traveller journey, in the context of rapid technological evolutions

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