The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority has yesterday rubbished widespread reports that it had delayed President Adama Barrow’s flight to Ghana last week.
The president travelled to Accra on Friday to attend an extraordinary Ecowas summit on the political situation in Mali and the rest of the subregion.
However, the Gambian leader’s flight was delayed at the Banjul airport as the flight took time to tank up, with rumours spreading that GCAA deliberately delayed the flight to sabotage the trip.
Yesterday, the Authority issued a rebuttal and also explained why President Barrow’s trip was held up at the airport.
The press release states: “The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has received with deep concern some misinformed social media audios holding GCAA responsible for the recent delay of His Excellency the President’s flight at Banjul International Airport on his recent trip to Accra, Ghana.
Contrary to these misleading assertions, which clearly depict a prevailing lack of understanding of the mandate of the GCAA, it is imperative for the general public to note that as a Public Enterprise, GCAA’s mandate is to operate Banjul International Airport and regulate the air transport industry. Fundamentally, as Airport Operator, the responsibility of the GCAA is to provide the requisite infrastructure, equipment and services needed to enhance effective and efficient air transport operations (not airline operations or chartering).
It is therefore worth noting, that the province of determining when and where an aircraft refuels is entirely the responsibility of the airline ie pilot and not the GCAA. Thus, as airport operator and regulator, GCAA on this occasion exhausted its entire scope of responsibilities by ensuring safe and efficient arrival and departure of the flight into and out of Banjul.
In view of the foregoing, professional business practice required the carrier/pilot to have established constant communication on his needs before reaching Banjul. By this, the contracting agent/OP would have ensured that the time needed to tank-up/ refuel the aircraft is factored in the president’s travel itinerary to avert any unnecessary waiting at the Airport.”
Therefore, the delay of the VIP movement was the result of a breakdown in
communication between the carrier/airline and the contracting party for the state and not a consequence of GCAA’s commission or omission.