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Somalia implements new communication device for aircraft over Somaliland

Saturday February 24, 2024

FILE PHOTO - Somali air control personnel after in the capital Mogadishu.

Mogadishu (HOL) — Somalia has introduced a new communication device for aircraft flying over Somaliland, replacing the previous system in a bid to enhance air safety amidst escalating tensions.

The move comes as Somalia's airspace faces significant challenges regarding air authority and communication protocols with aircraft.
According to reports by the BBC, the Civil Aviation Organization of Somalia announced changes in communication procedures with aircraft traversing Somaliland due to safety concerns.

Ahmed Moalim Hassan, Director of the Somaliland Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed to the BBC that the new device, a satellite phone jointly owned by airlines and the Somali air traffic control office, has been implemented. This device will be used by air traffic controllers in Somalia.

"The new satellite phone system has performed well, alleviating our concerns about air safety. Aircraft operations remain unaffected," Ahmed informed the BBC.

The introduction of this new communication system aims to address the challenges faced by aircraft flying over Somalia, enhancing efficiency and safety measures.

Meanwhile, Somalia clarified that the satellite phone communication system is solely employed for flights within Somaliland's airspace. The country mentioned it operates three communication systems for aircraft: VHF, satellite phone, and an internet-based device for message exchange. The VHF radio has been removed from service.

In response to these developments, Omar Sayed Abdilahi, General Manager of the Aviation and Airports Authority of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland, emphasized Somaliland's autonomy in managing aircraft operations within its airspace.

"We are solely responsible for aircraft operations in Somaliland and have no affiliation with Somalia," Omar told the BBC.
However, Omar accused Mogadishu of persistently disrupting Somaliland's airspace, calling for a resolution to the matter.
In a similar vein, Ahmed Macallin accused Hargeisa of interfering with aircraft communication while airborne.

The implementation of this new communication device marks a significant step in addressing air safety concerns over Somaliland's airspace amidst ongoing tensions in the region.

Since the federal government of Somalia assumed control of the country's airspace in late 2017, this development signifies the first significant change in communication protocols amidst regional tensions in the Horn of Africa.

The tensions escalated following an agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, granting Ethiopia a 20 km coastal area to construct a naval base. Somalia opposes the deal, leading to ongoing tensions between the involved parties.


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