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Somaliland: Ethiopian Airlines, Egal Airport, Ministry of Aviation and Stranded Passengers Saga
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 22:58

Stranded pasengers want government interventionStranded pasengers want government intervention

• We want the Aviation minister to intervene and stop our misfortune-Stranded passengers

• We hereby inform that Ethiopian Airlines is entirely responsible for difficulties encountered by its passengers in Hargeisa-Ministry of aviation

• We suspended our flights because Egal airport does not meet our safety standards due to poor tarmac runway-Ethiopian airlines

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A large number of passengers are stranded in Hargeisa following the suspension of services by Ethiopian Airlines.

The stranded passengers some of whose flights were 10 days ago have decried the non-action by both the Somaliland ministry of aviation and Ethiopian airlines.

The missed flights saga of the passengers among them students who were on the way to Sudan to pursue high education curtsey of scholarships from Khartoum and Diaspora landers returning to their bases abroad is a subject of push and shove between the Somaliland aviation authorities and Ethiopian airlines.

The marooned passengers camped outside the offices of Safeway travel agency in Hargeisa want the government and the regional airliner to put their differences away and remedy their travel schedules in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

"My return ticket has not only expired but my leave of absence from work in the UAE" said Ms Muna a mother of two who also informed that her kids are also missing out on school.

"My future is now uncertain having failed to comply with scholarship conditions" said master Abdilatif who is a beneficiary of a Sudanese university bursary that gave specific conditions on when to be in Khartoum for processing

A British Somalilander who claimed that he is sure to lose his job due to the travel delay urged the minister of aviation Mahmud Abdi Hashi whom he claimed to have been acquainted with in the UK to intervene and save the malady of the many stranded passengers.

The now without recourse travelers credit their calamity to the Somaliland ministry of aviation in which they demand action especially in lieu of the Airline having told them to travel to Jigjiga in Ethiopia where flights shall be duly facilitated

While the stuck passengers continue to suffer the culprits of their misfortunes namely the aviation ministry and Ethiopian airlines are engaged on a "You are to blame game"

The new and in dispute runway at Egal airportThe new and in dispute runway at Egal airport

The Ethiopian airlines attribute flight suspension to poor infrastructure at Egal International Airport which the airline says does not meet her safety standards especially due to poor tarmac runway.

The Hargeisa based international airport was reopened fortnight ago after year long rehabilitation and modernizing works with millions of funding from the people of Kuwait.

With an elongated runway that can accommodate big crafts, Ethiopian was the first to land a Boeing 737 on the 1st of September a flight that ensued after a safety check was approved by the airliner.

"Our initial assessment said that the upgrade met with our objectives but after further studies we have discovered that Egal airport does not meet our safety standards due to poor tarmac runway" says Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian Airline at Egal airport September 1stEthiopian Airline at Egal airport September 1st

The government that squarely lays the blame of the stranded passenger's saga on the regional airliner says diplomatic channels have been opened to resolve the stand-off.

A statement released by the protocol officer at the ministry of aviation Mr. Abdilahi Ahmed Arshey that informed on the ministry's commitment to providing an enabling aviation and air transport environment urged Ethiopian Airlines to fulfill its contractual arrangements with its passengers.

Ministers Hashi and Waranade in Ethiopia for discussionsMinisters Hashi and Waranade in Ethiopia for discussionsTo secure an end to the impasse the administration in Hargeisa has dispatched a two member negotiation team to Addis Ababa composed of the interior minister Ali Mohamed Waran'ade and Aviation minister Mahmud Abdi Hashi to open end of impasse dialogue with both Ethiopian government and airline officials.

While it is hoped that Ethiopian shall be enticed to resume its flights to the country the dispute between the aviation ministry and the airline is very divergent, only astute diplomatic negotiations skills and willingness for the two antagonists to give a little bit of ground shall enable end to the deadlock.

The deadlock leading to flights withdrawal emanate from:

• Ethiopian airlines insisting on return to utilizing Berbera Airport because of the poor upgrade made at Egal international Airport thence "would not risk its multi-millionaire aircraft nor the safety of its passengers". The airline claims that the aviation minister is responsible for flights suspension and plight of stranded passengers having refused to accept the Return to Berbera option.

• The ministry of aviation insists that the upgrade made at Egal is as per specifications as proved by the initial safety standards assessment undertaken and approved by Ethiopian airlines thus the airline should stick to the initial findings and proceed with its flight operations.

As the "YOUR ARE TO BLAME" game and negotiations go on between the two antagonists the plight of the stranded passengers especially their jobs, education and future prospects remains uncertain.

In the meantime and despite all the fireworks of alleged ineptness being directed against the aviation ministry and its top honcho it is worth acknowledging that the minister Mahmud Abdi Hashi has during his two and a half years tenure supervised the modernization of the country's airports especially Berbera and Egal which are almost to international standards.

Watch a clip of Royal Tv interviewing Stranded Passengers



0 # yaabane 2013-09-12 00:35
Truly, both, Egal International Airport and this article are done poorly. The former has poorly built runway, while the latter suffers from grammatical and spelling errors. Hence, let us call the region a doomed region.
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0 # Somaliland Fella 2013-09-12 15:36
Egal International Airport' runway was not done poorly. Do you know that Kuwait fund has pledged to give Somaliland more money to extend the Runway length?
This shows you that even the donor is convinced that the runway was done right or they wouldn't have put more money into the project.

Also the Article is wrong in stating the length was extended. The Length of the runway was never extended, the runway was repaved with a double seal to strengthening it. The length is 2440 m and width is 45 m.

It's a shame that Somaliland haters and opposition leaders can manage to turn a successful civil works project into cannon fodder against the government. If our media cared about the truth they wouldn't have quoted some unknown person posting a online forum. Especially Ethiopian airlines has never given an official statement about the runway. If they did say something like that it would be an utter lie.
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+4 # Ahemed 2013-09-12 03:27
The £10million went into the pockets of the politicians. Silanyo has a monthly Salary of $12,000...These traitors are taking the people of Somaliland for a ride. How can the president of an unrecognised government be payed that much?? Surely that could go to schooling more children, funding free hospitals or something useful. This "Aviation" minister is obviously very stupid. Ethiopian airlines said Egal is not safe, but they offered Berbera. No airline would risk losing money or lives due to poorlydone run ways. 23 Years and the people of Somaliland don't have a proper International airport in Hargeisa, how will people take you seriously?? But now thanks to this silly man, Ethiopia have pulled out of Somaliland entirely.
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+1 # mohamed cheers 2013-09-12 17:54
So you believe what the Etiopian Airlines say instead of the Somaliland Govt? Again, blatantly accusing the Somaliland Govt without solid proof is
a serious crime. Your style of reporting is skepticism without legal foundation.
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0 # khalil 2013-10-10 05:52
it seems that you are puntland people those who don't have airports like are standard's we also have better streets then you all fix your corrupt country in civil war
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0 # mohamed cheers 2013-09-12 05:49
Listen folks...Let's hear the comments of the other International Airlines?
Meanwhile, while the Somaliland and Ethiopia are sorting out the Ethiopian Airlines problems, the stranded passengers should have their problems resolved.
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-1 # Somaliland Fella 2013-09-12 15:40
Daallo airlines and others are working regularly from Hargeisa airport. Today, yesterday and the day before Daallo flights touched down and took off from Hargeisa airport.

Ethiopian airlines should be sued simply for not doing anything for their passengers. No matter what happens to an Airport the airlines is always responsible for their customers.

This is an issue of mismanagement by EA more than anything else.
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-1 # Qariyo 2013-09-12 08:12
Dalku dad iyo madax buu u baahan tahay.
Uma baahna , waraabe .haaman. Ma xishoode,iyo inta ay diintu xumaanta ku Tillmantay sida kuwan caruurtii lugooyey
Alla ha lugooyee
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0 # hassan hersi 2013-09-12 10:35
I was stuck in Heathrow last night because of this cancellation, you cant even go to jigjiga. Very disappointed.
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+4 # Rageedii 2013-09-12 12:18
What a shame, this is what happens when public services are corrupted. Its a disgrace, I watched HCTV report comparing Jijiga airport which costs less than 4 million started from zero and Hargeisa airport runway refurbishments which costs more than 4 million and still didn't pass standard tests. I think the minister of aviation should resign!. He messed up big time, it might take ages to correct this problem. Even my local street is smoother than that runway.
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0 # Mabullah 2013-09-12 22:32
Quoting Rageedii:
Even my local street is smoother than that runway.

You must live in Europe then. Cause i've actually driven on the Egal airport's runway and it's very smooth. I doubt you have driven on the runway so take my word for it.
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0 # Rageedii 2013-09-13 00:33
You can tell the inconsistency textures of the surface by just looking at it, I don't need to drive on it. Corrupted ministers get rich while the public suffers. We shouldn't blame EA for our poor workmanship. Just compare that runway against international airports. Then you charge yourself.
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+2 # Gash 2013-09-12 13:17
Come on Ethiopian Airlines has given alternate embarkation points-Barbara at Somalia and Jijiga in Ethiopia. The Aviation Ministry should be more than happy to accept the comment and live up to the standard. It is all about safety of the citizens and no way to negotiate. Ethiopian Airlines is the commercial airline wanted to maintain the good safety standard for the continuity of the business. Thumbs up for ET but sorry for the stranded passenger due to the ongoing saga.
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0 # Hargaisaawi 2013-09-12 14:50
The UCID candidate has made the most sense out of this man. If the political parties would have built their capacities and organised themselves instead of talking about personalities we would not have this confusion. Political parties need to study policies, conduct researches and hold the government into account on policies but not on personalities. It's exactly the same reflection that we are seeing in this thread as people don't seem to have the capacity to distinguish between recognition or Somalia and the internal Somaliland issues. This is nothing to do with Somalia or recognition.

The political parties should demand an independent enquiry! In the meantime, if the Big planes cannot land on the Airport on their assessment they should be allowed to land on the Berbera Airport. There is no need to force the planes to land where they think it's not safe as it would be much worse if we have an accident.

I don't even know what the problem is so this is just my opinion based on what Jamaal was saying!
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+1 # abdi 2013-09-12 15:06
Who is our leader? I have not seen any one with leadership skills including the President. Mr President wake up and show us leadership. Please stop setting up committees when urgent action is needed and if you cannot do that give others to rule us.You have in need failed us.
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0 # siigaale 2013-09-12 17:10
One thing is clear. None of these detractors saw the finished work at the airport. None of them have the knowledge and experience to judge the finished airport. So to accuse and to a man who worked hard to finish this project without tangible prove is evil and vile.
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-1 # Mabullah 2013-09-12 20:44
Quoting siigaale:
One thing is clear. None of these detractors saw the finished work at the airport. None of them have the knowledge and experience to judge the finished airport. So to accuse and to a man who worked hard to finish this project without tangible prove is evil and vile.

You Sir are a gentleman and a scholar. You've summed everything i was feeling more eloquently than i ever could.
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+1 # Reporter 2013-09-13 01:25
All that glitters are not gold, don't mix political and safety issues if the airport doesnt fulfill aviation standars your safety and safety of others are first priority mate make no mistake.
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+1 # ali dheere 2013-09-13 18:00
no reasonable pilot would want to land in an unsafe runway bear in mind ehiopian airlines and pilots are one of the best in africa this is not a good image of somaliland, put simply this runway is not for commercial airlines.the money went to the pockets of hj croonies shame when hargeisa needed an international standard runway.
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0 # Mohamud 2013-09-13 22:14
Any news or update of Ethiopian Airlines in Hargueisa? Thanks for your help.
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0 # ff 2013-09-19 02:07
fat basterd stole the airport money
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0 # lol 2013-09-19 23:34
its really sad to hear a government cant even fix the airport that the most important one to travel, hey Somaliland now should travel with boat no airline want to fly there fix your runways first morons your MPs are fighting like animals but yet they can't maintain the road and security of the people that elect
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0 # Husain abdi Aden 2013-09-20 14:39
All Burco people all hargesa people all us diaspora think Sylanyo is fakin bastard and his wife is the real leader of somaliland. His wife makes his political and wife tribe callin desicions. We the truth we know scandals we know your 2million in London we know your old history with Somali government. Plz know the truth real reason and real true.
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0 # Husain abdi Aden 2013-09-20 14:40
All Burco people all hargesa people all us diaspora think Sylanyo is fakin bastard and his wife is the real leader of somaliland. His wife makes his political and wife tribe callin desicions. We the truth we know scandals we know your 2million in London we know your old history with Somali government. Plz know the truth real reason and real true....
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