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Somali Civil Aviation Authority reaffirms control over airspace

Wednesday February 14, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali Civil Aviation Authority reaffirmed on Tuesday that the country's airspace is under the control of the federal government after the breakaway region of Somaliland asserted that any problems and disruptions occurring in the aviation and airspace of Somalia will be the responsibility of the Mogadishu government.

The statement from the Somali Civil Aviation Authority informs the Somali people that the status and management of Somalia's airspace have remained the same, which is under the responsibility of the Federal Government of Somalia.

"Our country's airspace has had a longstanding designation since the 1960s: the "MOGADISHU FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR)." The planes that fly in our country receive one of the highest levels of safety services in the world, resulting in Somalia's airspace being internationally recognized as "Class-A Airspace," the agency added.

On Tuesday, the director of the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SL-CAAA), Omar Sayid Abdullah, underscored that "From today, Somaliland will not be held accountable for any disruptions in air traffic control between Somaliland and Somalia. Responsibility lies with those exploiting the situation for their political gain."

The contention over airspace rights has seen recent developments, with Somalia's Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) actively denying access to flights bound for Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. This includes a notable incident involving an unscheduled Ethiopian Airlines flight, which was forced to return to Addis Ababa after being denied entry into Somali airspace on January 17, 2024. The flight, reportedly carrying senior Ethiopian officials to Somaliland, clearly manifested the ongoing diplomatic and operational rifts between Somalia and the self-declared independent region.

Somalia's response to what it perceives as unauthorized airspace usage has been firm, with the SCAA imposing temporary suspensions, albeit briefly.

However, the Memorandum of Understanding that Ethiopia signed with Somaliland on January 1, 2024, in Addis Ababa has not shown signs of progress to the next stage as Ethiopia faces local and international pressure to nullify the agreement.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed that Somalia would not engage in mediation talks with Ethiopia until Addis Ababa retracts from the illegal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).


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