Air travelers to Sierra Leone and Liberia have been hit by a report from KLM that it is cutting its services to both countries. The Dutch carrier made this decision in order to add new flight service to the American city of Las Vegas.
This news comes as the government of Sierra Leone and the mayor of Freetown are making plans to improve tourism in the country.
Sierra Leone is one of the least favored destinations for tourism on the continent, comparing very poorly to the Gambia and Senegal.
Fewer than 200 passengers arrive every day at Sierra Leone’s 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 two cities.
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 beginning 2019, freeing up capacity for 3-weekly flights between Amsterdam and Las Vegas.
“In order to open Las Vegas as a new destination, changes had to be made to KLM’s network. KLM was forced to revise its portfolio of destinations sooner than expected partly because of Schiphol’s slot restrictions.
“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 President and CEO Pieter Elbers said.
Air France will continue to operate a direct service to Freetown from Paris Charles de Gaulle. “Las Vegas will become KLM’s 18th North Atlantic destination,” Elbers added.