Chief Executive Officer of Brussels Airlines has reassured citizens of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea of airlines’ continuous service, despite the current Ebola pandemic ravaging the three Mano River states.
Transport and Aviation Minister, Leonard Balogun Koroma received at the Brussels Airlines office in Brussels by the Airlines’ Vice President, Philippe Saeys-Desmedt, alongside Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie
Mr. Bernard Gustin was addressing a delegation of the Sierra Leone government comprising the Transport and Aviation Minister, Leonard Balogun Koroma (Logus), Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of Mission to the EU, Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie and Acting Head of Chancery, Witson T. Yankuba at the company’s Zavantem office in Brussels, Monday, September 1st.
“We have a tradition to be close to Africa. We are very proud and dedicated in continuing our operations in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea”, stated Gustin.
The Brussels Airlines Chief Executive said the decision by Senegal last week to stop the airline from landing in Dakar was a unilateral one. He however showered praises on President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for “his swift intervention by contacting his colleague Head of State in Senegal to reconsider the decision”.
He continued, “we are very much encouraged on the intervention of your President which was very timely and we hope such conversations will continue at the highest levels. Your visit also to us in Brussels to explain to us the measures that have been put in place at the Lungi International Airport has given us double assurances”.
Earlier, Minister Logus Koroma informed the Brussels Airlines management team that he was directly sent by President Koroma to personally come to Brussels to deliver his message of thanks and appreciation on his own personal behalf and on behalf of the people and government of Sierra Leone to the management of Brussels Airlines for standing by Sierra Leone during this trying times in our country.
“You’ve demonstrated clearly that you are true friends of Sierra Leone. You showed that during our country’s rebel war and you’ve done that again”, the Minister re-echoed.
Minister Koroma briefed the Brussels Airlines management team which also included the Airlines Vice President Sales Africa and Global Cargo, Philippe Saeys-Desmedt and Chief Commercial Officer, Lars Redeligx about the rigorous screening measures that have been put in place at the Lungi International Airport to prevent any passenger with the slightest symptom of unusual temperature from boarding any flight.
“All our energies and work are directed to tackling this Ebola pandemic as it has greatly affected the socio-economic fabric of the country”.
He added that the Brussels Airlines management has actually not realized the magnitude of what they’ve done for Sierra Leone. “Had your airline stopped flying to Sierra Leone as was done by the other European airlines, our country would have been completely shut down and isolated from the rest of the world. Prseident Koroma would like to thank you very much and hope Brussels Airlines will continue to fly to Sierra Leone”.
Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie explained the proactive steps taken by the Embassy since the outbreak of the Ebola crisis; ranging from diplomatic and direct engagements with airlines management, Foreign Ministries in the countries of accreditation and international NGOs like UNICEF – Belgium. He promised to continue the diplomatic offensive, especially with Air France/KLM to have them revisit their decision to stop flying to Sierra Leone.
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