By MUHAMMED S. BAH
All flights bound for The Gambia have been either diverted to Dakar or cancelled after a Polish aircraft broke down on the runway at the Banjul International Airport Tuesday, May 27th.
Director General, Department of Strategy and Policy Delivery, Alhagie Nyangado told a pool of Journalists at a hastily organised press conference held at State House on Wednesday 29th May 2019, that the problem lies on the flight itself but not as a result of bird strike.
Mr. Nyangado said the airport terminal is expected to resume its operation within 48 hours, “The time could be even less, because the authorities of the airport are doing their utmost best to solve the situation,” he remarked.
Report has it that an Aircraft that was supposed to take off for the United Kingdom had its tyres busted on the runway resorting to the shutting down of the runway. This has made flights that are to come to the Gambia to be diverted to Senegal and others cancelled.
The airport is known to be often encountering bird strikes due to the frequent flying of birds around its environ. Birds are reportedly attracted by the dumpsite that is just a few miles away from the airport terminal. This is a place where different birds come to scavenge for food.
“Government is not taking the issue of clearing the dumpsite at the airport lightly,” says Mai Ahmed Fatty, one of the President’s advisers. He disclosed that the government to the highest level has met to strategise on how to go about it.
Mr. Fatty disclosed that on Saturday 1st June 2019, all relevant authorities will be involved, including the security and the natives of West Coast Region in a cleansing exercise to clear the place. He said this will serve as a temporal measure to avert the bird striking on the flights. Mr. Fatty underscored the importance of people’s attitudes towards indiscriminate dumping. He further noted that government will still work on a permanent solution to the problem. “This problem is not something new, but it has been here since the first republic,” Mr. Fatty remarked. He said government has already set up a committee that will coordinate in addressing the issue. He disclosed that government is doing as much as they can to mobilise resources for the exercise.