Freetown Airport, the only international airport in Sierra Leone, is actually located across the bay of the Sierra Leone river north of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, and the eight mile journey to the city is usually completed by ferry, hovercraft or helicopter, the latter option taking just seven minutes, although its safety record is such you may prefer crossing by water. Originally an UK Royal Air Force station, Freetown Airport is today operated by the Sierra Leone Airports Authority. A number of airlines operate from the airport including Africa World Airlines, Air France, Air Peace (Lagos), Air Senegal, ASKY Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Transair and Turkish Airlines. British Airways stopped flying there following the 2014 Elbola outbreak and while KLM restarted flights in March 2017, it discontinued them again in 2019. A new airport to replace Lungi International was under construction some 31 miles away and was to be called Mamamah International Airport, however construction was cancelled in 2018 due to spiralling costs and concerns about the level of debt Sierra Leone would owe to its Chinese builders.
Facilities at Freetown Lungi International Airport are somewhat limited. There are a couple of rundown shops with little of interest, one a 'souvenir shop', the other an over priced duty free shop and upstairs there is an ill stocked cafe where the only vegetarian option is, er, well, chips, which coincidently is the main fare available to non-vegetarians as well as most other menu items are 'orf'.
The lack of facilities is perhaps the good news about the airport. The bad news is that you will be asked for a bribe to smoothly exit the facility, however if you refuse, it is taken in good heart even though your personal belongings will be given even more rigorous scrutiny than normal, or required. Sierra National Airlines, the nation's national carrier, also fell foul of the authorities at the airport in 2005 when the Sierra Leone Airports Authority claimed they were owed some US$800,000 for landing fees, electricity, rent and ground handling services. Nothing has been heard of the airline since 2006 and we suggest you don't wait for the resumption of services! Make a virtual landing at Freetown Lungi International Airport in the video (below) as your airplane comes in to land in Sierra Leone.
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