Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sierra Leone lifts ban on chopper flights

Freetown, Sierra Leone - The government of Sierra Leone has lifted the ban on helicopter flights in the West African nation, a government statement said here Friday.

The ban was imposed on all internal helicopter flights by the government in June, after an MI8 helicopter crash 3 June at the Lungi International Airport killed a team of Togolese Sports officials, supporters and a government Minister.

But after a critical assessment, the government has announced that the flights will resume again under new regulations.

Under the regulations, helicopter operators who fully meet all the necessary requirements set by the Department of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Communication will be allowed to operate helicopters in Sierra Leone on commercial basis.

The statement said an aviation expert, John Tambi, had been appointed to conduct the preliminary assessment of the situation and submit a report.

A team of South Africa airworthiness inspectors has also completed a safety and airworthiness inspection of the helicopters of one of the operators, with a satisfactory result.

Sierra Leone lifts ban on chopper flights