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Somalia mulls rerouting international flights away from Hargeisa

Monday February 26, 2024


Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia is contemplating redirecting international flights landing in Hargeisa through Mogadishu, according to recent statements from the transport minister.

Minister of Transport and Aviation of the Federal Government of Somalia, MP Fardowsa Osman Egal, has cautioned the Somaliland administration against actions that could compromise aircraft security within Somalia.

"We have issued several warnings about disruptions caused by the Somaliland administration to aircraft using our airspace, particularly in the northern regions. If these actions continue, we will pursue legal action," Minister Osman stated.

Such actions could prompt the Somali government to consider redirecting international flights originally destined for Hargeisa through Mogadishu.

Recent reports have revealed a troubling scenario within the Mogadishu Flight Information Region (FIR), with nearly a dozen aircraft reportedly contacted by unauthorized controllers issuing conflicting instructions. Instances of unauthorized climb and descent clearances, particularly in the northern part of Somali airspace, illustrate the ongoing political discord between Somaliland and Somalia.

The Minister highlighted Somalia's transition to a new communication system, replacing the previous setup used by both Mogadishu and Hargeisa. Under the new system, all aircraft are now under communication control from Mogadishu, the nation's capital.

Emphasizing the importance of dialogue with the Somaliland administration to address concerns and reach mutual agreements, the Minister urged for diplomatic resolution.

The airspace rights dispute has escalated recently, with the Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) actively blocking flights destined for Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. However, the Minister clarified that Somalia has already granted permission for international flights to land in Hargeisa.

Reassuring stakeholders, the Minister affirmed that Somalia's airspace is securely managed, dispelling any concerns regarding potential disruptions to the country's airspace operations by Somaliland.

International organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are actively involved in diplomatic efforts to address the underlying political tensions fueling the airspace dispute, which threatens to disrupt regional air traffic and undermine safety measures. 

Somali airspace regained its Class A classification after over 30 years in January 2023. This development underscores the significance of resolving the airspace dispute for the broader aviation community.


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