Sierra Leone has terminated all contract services under the controversial Chinese project to build a new airport that would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
A letter from the transport and aviation ministry says it is “uneconomical to proceed with the construction of a new airport when the existing one is grossly underutilized”.
From conception to inception, the Mamamah Airport project has met with strong opposition from many quarters including the World Bank who argued that it was not economically prudent and would only mean more debt burden on the country.
During the campaign, President Julius Maada Bio criticised the project. But the then president, Ernest Bai Koroma and his government argued that the Mamamah Airport on the mainland was needed to ease the burden on travellers who almost inevitably have to navigate the estuary to catch a flight.
Annual turnover for both incoming and outgoing passengers at the current airport at Lungi is around 240,000.