Liberians in the United States have welcomed the news that Delta Airlines has launched direct flights from the United States to Liberia.
Miatta Stella Herring from Hamilton, New Jersey said the direct flights would help reduce the long flight hours that Liberians and foreigners alike have been experiencing by flying through Europe.
?I am so excited about the new Delta flight. It is important particularly because I have just recently traveled to Liberia, and I went through Europe on Brussels Airlines. It was such a long flight. Not only was it long, but at Brussels the layover is extremely long, and where they sit the African contingent to await the next flight to Africa is an isolated area with no entertainment,? Herring said.
She said the new Delta Airlines direct flight to Liberia would create competition among the airlines.
Lao Sherman, president of the Liberian Association in Atlanta, said he was present at the inaugural ceremony at the Atlanta International Airport.
?There was extremely a lot of excitement among the Liberian people, and we feel so glad that this trip is going to make a difference in our country. I was even told by the Delta Vice President that the next two flights [to Liberia] have been booked already,? Sherman said.
Edwin Dorzon, from the state of Maryland, said he hoped the Liberian government would privatize the operations of the Roberts International Airport to benefit all Liberians.
?I?m happy, but with reservation that Delta has started a new operation in Liberia. I would hope the Liberian government would put the airport [Roberts International Airport] up for bidding to international companies that would benefit Liberians and Liberia, not for the government to run it [the airport] inefficiently,? Dorzon said.
Ms. Addy Mensah of Hyattsville, Maryland said she was also happy about the new Delta Airlines direct flight to Liberia, but said she wanted clarification about which U.S. city, or cities, the flight would be originating from.
?It is a good idea for the Delta Airlines to travel directly to Liberia. The question I want to ask is whether you have to go through Atlanta to take the flight. And, if that is the case, what happens to the people on the east coast and west coast [of the United States] Mensah said.
The last U.S. airline to fly between the United States and Liberia was Pan-American Airlines. But, it stopped flying to Liberia in 1990 a year after the country?s civil war broke out.
Information Minister Cletus Sieh said the flight is one indication of the special relationship between Liberia and the United States.
?The United States and Liberia have a very special relationship, so to now have a flight that goes directly from Monrovia to Atlanta, Georgia and other places, we think this is a welcome development. It?s going to help to boost our tourism sector, and it?s going to help to boost our commerce,? Sieh said.