By Alagie Manneh
Titan Airways, operated by Gambia Experience, has cancelled its scheduled first four rotations to The Gambia.
In an email sent to the director general of the Gambia Tourism Board, the British airliner said for any operations to resume, the fire safety and waste management issues highlighted in a report must be urgently addressed.
“This cancellation will not only cause a loss of revenue, and impact tourism numbers to The Gambia, but will also cause significant reputational damage to us all,” the airliner warned.
Reacting, the head of the Gambia Tourism Board, Abubacarr Camara, said the matter is being treated with the urgency it deserves.
“Before this letter came yesterday, cabinet ministers were at the airport including permanent secretaries and even director generals and other technical directors to discuss the matter. This issue was raised by the safety auditor. We are very serious about the issues and that is why four cabinet ministers have to be sent immediately to make sure that this matter is addressed. The unfortunate thing is that we have received this letter yesterday.”
Mr Camara said a “high-powered” team has already been put together to make sure they address all the issues.
“Even before we left, the airport authorities were instructed to affect all the issues. They assured us that they will do everything possible,” Mr Camara said.
DG Camara admitted that the flight cancellations are “a big blow” coming at the beginning of the tourist season.
“It will reduce the number of tourists that are going to come to The Gambia. We are not sure whether we can make it up at some point, but as it is now, it’s a big blow and it is going to affect us,” he said.
DG Camara expressed his hope that if all the matters are addressed immediately, the airliner may reconsider its decision.
“If you see Gambia Experience cancel a flight, know that that issue is very important to them. Even though other flight are going to come, they have a right to cancel theirs,” he stated.