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Sierra Leone News: KLM cuts flights to Sierra Leone

Less than two years since KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) resumed flight operations in Sierra Leone; after stopping operation some 21-years ago, the Dutch carrier is again cutting its services to the country. According to a report by Air Transport World (ATW), the Dutch Sky Team carrier KLM will stop services to Freetown in Sierra Leone and Monrovia in Liberia from summer 2019. The company CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac said the airline is looking for profit and because of the low passenger turnout they are taking this flight to the United States. Unfortunately, contacts at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation were of no use. One of the contacts said, “I don’t have any idea.”  The Ministry of Tourism and Culture was also unable to comment, nevertheless, KLM halting operations in Sierra Leone is not a welcome tiding for the Sierra Leone tourism industry. Sierra Leone is one of the least favoured destinations for tourism on the continent, compared to the Gambia and Senegal. Between 100 and 200 passengers arrive every day at Lungi International Airport, and this is bad business for international flight carriers. But carriers such as Air France, Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, and Brussels Airlines will continue their services to the West African cities. “From March 29, 2019, KLM will stop flying to Freetown in Sierra Leone and Monrovia in Liberia. While the Freetown/Monrovia route launched in 2017 would have previously been given more time to grow in terms of performance, KLM is now compelled to deploy its fleet and slots differently,” KLM said, announcing the cuts. Air France will continue to operate a direct service to Freetown from Paris Charles de Gaulle. In place of the two West African links, KLM is adding 2X-weekly Las Vegas from June 6, 2019, building to 3X-weekly on July 2, 2019. KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers said, “The new route will increase access to US west-coast connecting flights.”


By Ophaniel Gooding

Tuesday September 25, 2018.

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