The Roberts International Airport, RIA, which was devastated by the 14 years civil war in Liberia, will wear a new look, come July 2018, with all the requisite criteria set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO. The project is layered in different segments, financed by multilateral sources including the Government of Liberia.
The Runway Rehabilitation Project is financed through loans totaling US$30 million from The Saudi Fund and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), including funds from the Government of Liberia. The project scope involves the excavation of significant sections of Runway 04-22, and asphalt pavement of these sections, rehabilitation of parts of the taxiways, airside geometric improvements including a new turn-pad at runway end 04, widening of taxiway fillets, grading of the runway strip, storm-water drainage improvements, runway and taxiway marking, rehabilitation of the Aeronautical Ground Lighting (AGL) system. The Chinese firm SINOHYDRO Corporation is the contractor for the project while the Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO) is the design and Owners Engineer, supervised by the LAA's Project Implementation Unit (PIU).
The first layer of asphalt pavement was completed in time for the just ended 51st ordinary summit of Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which enabled the smooth landing and takeoff of over 20 Presidential, Special and Commercial flights. The second layer pavement works commenced immediately after the summit and preparations are underway to begin the installation process for new approach and runway lighting systems. The LAA looks forward to a significant boost and increase in airlines flying to Liberia as the runway infrastructure is completed by October 2017.
The new Terminal project is financed through a US$50 Million loan from the China Exim Bank, with the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd serving as Contractors, WSP PARSONS BRICKERHOFF contracted as Owners Engineer/Consultants to monitor the project, with supervision by the LAA Project Implementation Unit (PIU). The New Terminal will cover an area of 500-Square meters and is designed for an average annual passenger volume of approximately 320,000 persons. Final Terminal Layout drawing is completed and detailed design drawings have been approved. Foundation works have taken full shape and is expected to be completed with superstructure being visible by December 2017; roofing to begin January 2018 and completion of the terminal is anticipated by July 2018 with pilot run for 120 days after completion.
The Liberia Airport Authority is to shortly commence the Rehabilitation and conversion of its damaged pre-war terminal building and when completed, will house the Head Offices of the LAA on the top floor while the lower deck will be comprised of spaces for lease by banks, airlines and others as may be applicable. The detailed conversion design was done by the KIARA Development Corporation, Inc, (KDC), and contracted by the LAA Owners Engineer to provide monitoring and supervision of the project. The old terminal was constructed and completed in the late 70s and was ravaged during Liberia's 14-year-old civil war. The project is expected to commence in August 2017 and estimated for completion in 10 months. Bid for the project has been tendered to be followed by the selection process. Unlike the current structure which stands as a scar and reminder of the civil war, the New Office Complex when completed, will change the face of the airport's entrance and breathe the semblance of an emerging airport city.
Global Logistics Services Inc. (GLS) has secured a 25-year concession for air cargo operations at Roberts International Airport.
The concession includes the design, build and operations of a new modern air cargo facility at RIA, due to open by July 2019, capable of handling over three times the current annual throughput, with improvements in operating systems and standards.
Total average annual throughput at the airport is currently about 4,000 tonnes, growing at an average of 6% – 10% per annum.
The concession will be managed by a joint venture company to be launched shortly in Monrovia. GLS has confirmed that an international ground handling company has taken up equity in the joint venture company, and full details are expected to be announced.
Capital expenditure for the project is around $11m over the initial concession term, with primary investment in the design and build of the 2,700 square metres cargo facility. The facility will also support special cargo handling for fresh foods and perishables, pharmaceuticals, valuables and vulnerable goods, dangerous goods, hazardous materials, and support the country's valuable-minerals export trade.
With these developments ongoing, Roberts international Airport is set to make tremendous impacts in the provision of modern aviation facilities that meet international standards according to ICAO set criteria.