By State House Communications Unit
On 2nd March 2015 SN Brussels which continues to operate in Sierra Leone throughout the Ebola outbreak hosted President Ernest Bai Koroma and entourage at their headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to reaffirm their commitment to continue to provide flight services to Sierra Leone.
President Koroma extolled the company for standing with the country since the outbreak and noted that fighting Ebola does not mean Sierra Leone should be isolated. He pointed out that government has been looking for the appropriate opportunity to say thanks, and said, “we cannot come to Brussels without meeting you to register our appreciation,” he said and noted that the meeting will form the basis for a very strong partnership between Sierra Leone and the company.
The president also maintained that the Airport transfer project has been enhanced and also working on developing a helipad as well as procure more ferries to improve on the movement on passengers from Lungi to Freetown. He called on the private sector to come in to help strengthen the airport transfer project.
President Koroma in warm handshake with the CEO of SN Brussels Bernard Gustin. .
President Koroma noted that restrictions imposed in the wake of the outbreak are generally geared toward containing Ebola but assured that government has given concessions to ticket carrying passengers to move from Lungi to Freetown.
He described the “Africa is not Ebola” initiative as laudable and in line with Sierra Leone’s recovery programme. “We want to associate ourselves with the campaign and help to showcase Africa as the destination of the future,” and pledged to help popularise the initiative.
Sierra Leone Ambasssdor to the Kingdom of Belgium Hon. Ibrahim Sorie Kamara said SN Brussels had gone the “extra mile with a smile” in trying to help the three most affected countries of the Ebola virus disease.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of SN Brussels Bernard Gustin, the company had always been anxious to remain in operation in Sierra Leone despite the Ebola outbreak. “It was critical that we remained in operations in Sierra Leone, especially faced with completely erratic behaviour because someone died in America who flew with the airline from West Africa,” he explained and said it was an honour to have the president in Brussels.
He also dilated on the “Africa is not Ebola” campaign by calling on Europeans to strive to tell the world that “Africa is not Ebola” as it’s a campaign they are working on. The CEO said that SN Brussels had maintained their services to 19 destinations in Africa, but however noted that touristism had been badly affected in The Gambia and Senegal even though they had no Ebola.
He therefore said the initiative is to market the continent as a land of opportunity, happiness and investment.
africaisnotebola.com aims to position Africa as much more interesting than Ebola.
Mr. Gustin furthered that the initiative would give people the confidence to not just come to visit but to invest.
“The image of Sierra Leone we want to see is that of people celebrating holiday at the beach rather than images of very sick people. But you know the media…good news is no news,” the CEO of SN Brussels said.