Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies

Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies (RLJ), took the first flight of Delta Air Line’s new service that travels from the United States to Monrovia, Liberia, making them the leading U.S. carrier operating flights to Africa.

Starting on September 4th, this is the only flight service from the U.S. that goes directly into the African country.

The former chairman of BET holds significant relevance to Liberia, with several business and developments projects in the works for that country. This includes the RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas, the nation’s first four-star oceanfront hotel Johnson opened in 2009 and runs today. He has also created a $30 million initiative with the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) called the Liberia Enterprise Development Finance Company (LEDFC) where loans between $25,000 and $1 million are readily available for small and medium sized businesses.

“A few years ago while attending the Clinton Global Initiative and after hearing President Sirleaf appeal to the American private sector for support, I made a commitment to make a difference for the people of Liberia,” Johnson said. “Over the last year, we have been working collaboratively with Delta Air Lines, the Liberian Government, Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and the TSA in an effort to attain the approvals needed to offer direct flight service.”

Both governments hope the Atlanta-Liberia hub will not only provide convenient services, but also a stronger bond between the two countries. “I have been pleased to work with Delta and the Office of Global Strategies at the TSA to ensure security continues to be a priority,” Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security said. “Offering direct service flights from the United States to Liberia strengthens our partnership with Africa.”

“The government is enthusiastic about the prospect of Delta providing a direct flight between Monrovia and the United States,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said.