The 30-seater aircraft, Elysian, which is intended to be taking off from the Hastings Airfield, east of Freetown, made its first test run from Lungi to Hastings and back to Lungi yesterday.
Elysian operations director, Dr A Ojetunde, explained that first destinations of the aircraft would be countries within the Mano River Union (MRU) basin.
“It is nice and proper to start with countries that fall within the MRU before going outside,” he noted.
He explained that the plane had been running in other countries but now it was under Sierra Leonean flag, “so it is running in Sierra Leone now”.
The operations director disclosed that, “we intend to extend the schedule by bringing in more aircraft bigger than this and extend our flight schedule to the rest of West Africa.”
Also, he said, “with our British counterparts in this company we are intending to be flying to Europe at a later date, England, to be more specific.”
Dr Ojetunde pointed out that, “the sooner we are going to start the operations to Europe and the rest of West Africa all depends on the business potential that comes out of the whole process.”
“What I can assure is that the facilities and the enthusiasm and the will is there to make it a showcase in this region of West Africa is there,” he said.
He averred that, “we are just calling on every other Sierra Leonean to assist for the business to go well.”
Mr Ojetunde accentuated that, “the crew will do a detail studies at the Hastings Airfield and come up with a plan as to how we can fly from the Hastings Airfield- as we all know the discomfort traveling to Lungi,” he said.
“With regards to security we are about to make assessment of the Hastings Airfield and we will definitely come up with a detailed plan,” he maintained.
The company is made up of Sierra Leoneans as majority shareholders.
According to The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA), Joseph Peterson-Garbidon, at he came to Sierra Leone to do an assessment of the airlines.
Mr Garbidon heightened that, “basically from my assessment, this airline is on track and it met our regulation standard.”
By Ophaniel Gooding