I write to task the editor of this online news paper, to draw the attention of all Gambians at home and in the Diaspora to the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority. This is the institution in The Gambia tasked with the responsibility to regulate the air transport industry in the country and also to manage Banjul International Airport. This public corporation is managed like an old fashion country club business establishment infested with cronyism and nepotism, filling almost all the employees in management positions with incompetent and low skilled staff that has lead to high attrition rate and huge financial losses to the authority.

The Gambia civil aviation authority recorded loss for the year GMD 76.6 million in 2010, GMD 67.9 million in 2011, GMD 51.5 million in 2012, GMD 98.6 million in 2013 and GMD 159.2 million in 2014 respectively, this was due to fraudulent purchasing policy by inflating prices of Items bought by the authority and financial mismanagement as well as unnecessary travels by the management staff.

The total current liabilities payable in one year is more than double compared to the revenue generated by the airport in a year. Total current liabilities in 2009 was GMD  462.6 million, 2010 was GMD 518.6 million, 2011 was GMD 678.07 million, 2012 was GMD 642.2 million, 2013 was GMD 740.3 million and 2014 was GMD 870.5 million. This financial plight of the authority was due to poor management staffing. The total revenue for the year stood at GMD 103.2 million in 2009, GMD 137.7 million in 2010, GMD 299.7 million in 2011, GMD 282.6 million in 2012, GMD 361.8 million in 2013 and GMD 377.6 million in 2014.

For example, GMD 29 million was secured from Zenith bank Gambia Ltd in 2011 at an interest rate of 19% per annum to finance the purchase of a baggage conveyor and check-in counters for the Airport Terminal building. However, the flight information display units for the new check-in counters are not working.

In November 2012, Gambia civil aviation authority took a loan from Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation to the tune of GMD 35 Million payable in 2 year at an annual rate of 12% to finance the construction of the new car park in front of the airport terminal. Funnily enough this airport car parking facility was contracted to a company called Barrow Manassy and Associates to run the airport car parking facility for GMD 112,000 per quarter, GMD 448,000 per annum. If one conducts an investment appraisal for this project, it will be realized that the pay-back period for this car park that was poorly made by Copri Construction company is 78 years which is impossible by taking a close look at the airport car park that can hardly last for 15 good years.

In addition, a $ 33 million airport development project funded by Kuwaiti fund, Saudi Fund, OPEC fund and government of the Gambia to expand the airport apron aircraft parking position, build new fire terminal at the airport and to do some renovations in the new airport terminal building. To the surprise of all airport workers the money for the project is finish whilst most of the work to be done in the terminal like changing the floor tiles and most parts of the terminal ceiling which are depilated and falling into disrepair are not done.

Due to perennial nepotism and poor management staffing with incompetent and unqualified managers at the airport, most of the technical staff of Gambia civil aviation authority are leaving or going on secondment to other African countries.

Name

Position

Country

Peter Gabbidon

Air traffic controller/ Pilot/ Flight Safety Inspector

South Sudan

Bammy Coker

Air traffic Controller/ Aga Officer

South Sudan

Sidi Manneh

Principal Air traffic Controller

Liberia

Lamin Ceesay

Air traffic controller

Dafour Sudan

Ousman K. Manjang

Emry-Riddle University graduate in aircraft engineering

Dakar

Kebba L. Jammeh

Pilot/ Flight Safety Inspector

Dakar

Pierr Camara

Senior Air traffic Controller

South Sudan

Amadou Sabally

Aircraft mechanical engineer

Mid-Africa airways in Gambia

Borry J. Saidy

Ag. Air traffic services manager/Principal Air traffic controller

Dismissed and charged for giving false information to the president currently going to court

My advice to the new government is, when appointing Director General for The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority that is still vacant since June 2016. The government should consider candidates who have strong academic, couple with professional qualifications from world class universities in the field of aviation. Candidates with skills and competence who can help rebuild the authority rather than the incompetent old sinners and poor managers who are lobbying to secure the position.

Appointing the right candidate, this is available in the country.  Will help the Gambia civil aviation authority in our quest to make Banjul International Airport  the best airport in the sub-region, in terms of convenience for airport users, commercial facilities and excellent service delivery in the airport at real value for money.

Furthermore, this appointment will also help the authority to embark on various aviation activities in line with the aviation industry standards to realize the corporate mission of The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority. ‘’ To provide the best airport and air navigation facilities in the sub-region and regulate the air transport industry in The Gambia to International standards while generating a reasonable return on investments’’.

Written By An Insider 

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