By: Ibrahim Tarawallie (Concord Times)
Just a year after commencing operations in Sierra Leone, Gambia Bird on Monday November 11o fficially began its air service from London to Freetown and back to London with Boeing 757 aircraft, which offers space for up to 182 passengers.
Welcoming the aircraft at the Freetown International Airport in Lungi, Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, said he was delighted that the airline has succeeded in upgrading its air service.
“I am delighted to receive this flight which is an indication of the confidence the airline has in the Sierra Leonean market. Significantly, just one year in the country they have upgraded their service,” noted the transport minister.
“What I am seeing here today is much more comfortable and spacious. I learnt that our country will be one of their hubs. We want options. We don’t want one dominant carrier to take over the market.”
[notification type=”info”] While urging the airline to ensure that they give the British Airways a run for their money with their new route to London via Freetown, Minister Koroma pointed out that London is a preferred route for Sierra Leoneans because of the rich colonial ties between the two countries. [/notification]
According to him, the more airlines use the country to fly to London, the better the competition will be in terms of customer service, among others. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Waziaski, told Concord Times that right from the beginning, Freetown has been one of their major hubs, and that the Boeing 757 aircraft has a wider economy class as well as a real business class.
“Today will mark a milestone in our history since we started our operations in October of 2012,” maintained CEOWaziaski.
“Of course we will connect passengers coming from London via Freetown to Banjul, which will increase the connectivity as well as other countries along the west coast and of course Banjul. We will be delivering passengers coming from London to Freetown and distributing them to Banjul. We will do our best to connect Freetown to other major destinations around the world.”
Waziaskiexplained that the aircraft has a capacity to carry more cars as well as a wider cabin, and that passengers will experience much more comfort.
“We will continue to keep our high standard which is our goal, and our service will remain to be excellent. The aircraft has 162 spaces for Economy Class and 20 for Business Class. We now have three frequencies per week and our capacity has also doubled,” he explained.
On his part, the Chief Marketing Officer, Jan Limbach, disclosed that passengers wishing to travel with the Boeing 757 aircraft will have to pay US$599 for Economy Class and US$1,499 for Business Class Country Manager, Madam Sueray said: “My feeling is that it’s really going to work for us in Sierra Leone. We know what Sierra Leoneans mean and I am delighted that we have the aircraft now.”
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