Special Awards In Pictures

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Dutch airline Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (Air France-KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines was on Thursday April 20, 2017 officially launched in Liberia after 26 years of being out of the country.

KLM left the airline industry of Liberia in 1990 during the inception of the brutal civil unrest that resulted into loss of life and properties. Although the Royal Dutch Airlines resumed flight on March 26, 2017, it has now been officially launched on April 20, 2017 at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor.

The official launching ceremony was glamorous as government officials, members of the business community, airline industry among others graced the occasion reflecting on the reliable services offered by KLM prior to the war in 1990.

The Royal Dutch Airline first arrived in the country on March 26, 2017, Airbus A330-200series that contains 275 seats. The flight operates three times a week, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday between Amsterdam, Freetown and Monrovia and Amsterdam respectively.

Speaking at the official launch of the airlines in the country, Philippe Barbieri, the Regional Director for the Airline in Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin, and Togo said the return of the airline means a lot to the country and its people.

“We are back because for us it is an important event toward Sierra Leone and Monrovia. We are group of two big airlines, KLM and Air France. Monrovia is part of a big family of 51 destinations in Africa,” Barbieri said.

Barbieri noted that with the friendly environment of Amsterdam airport, travelers from Liberia will easily be able to connect to any distinction in Europe, Americas, Asia and other parts of the world.

“It will contribute to the speedy economic growth of Liberia from this moment,” he added. For his part, the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe said the return of Air France-KLM to Liberia is a mark of confidence in the work of the Liberian Government.

Minister Nagbe recounted that 1990 was a sad year for the country, saying Liberians used the year to destroy their own country. “Your return is a mark of confidence in the efforts that we applying. I also want to say we are happy that you have a local partner who will be here and he is somebody I know personally and interacted with,” he said.

According to the MICAT boss, the travel industry is a critical component for tourism because it allows tourists to travel to the country. “Step by step we are building the airport runway, renovated and will be done in few months. There is an ongoing effort to construct new terminals and will be commissioned early next year,” he added.

At the same time, the Managing Director of Jos Travels and Tours Incorporated and representative of Air France-KLM in Liberia, Joe Wamah recalled the struggles he went through in realizing his dream of leading the airline industry in the country.

The exuberant KLM Representative said words couldn’t express how happy he has been since the return of KLM to Liberia. “We are going to make sure to make Air France-KLM proud because for every businessman you like to have a good market share so that you can have profitability. We will do what is required of us to make you very much established and get your share of the market,” he said.

Jos Travel and Tours Inc. serves as the local representative or the general sale agent and responsible for all the commercial activities of Air France-KLM in the market at the same time serving as the ambassador of KLM.

Although the airlines left the country about over two decades ago, but Wamah said the airlines still remain a household name because of its tremendous works in the country previously.

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