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Somaliland: The Egal Airport Runway and What is Wrong
Sunday, 15 September 2013 18:14

Capt M OmarCapt M Omar

Somalilandsun – a Diaspora Lander and a certified airline Transport pilot and instructor Captain Mohamed Ahmed Omar shares his thoughts on the new Runway at Egal airport while offering comparisons with those from neigbouring countries

Hargeisa Airport And Its Runway Who To Blame This Fiasco

By Captain Mohamed Ahmed Omar Airline Transport Pilot

Let me share my thoughts concerning about Hargeisa airport & Ethiopian Airlines. According to IATA, ICAO & the International Air Law, Safety & security of the airplane & its passengers are the responsibility of the airplane operator which is Ethiopian Airlines.

According to that same law the responsibility safety & security of that airport falls on the shoulder of the airport operator, which is the government of Somaliland

The issue in here is that, the runway of Hargeisa airport is little short for a jet aircraft loaded with full passenger & lot of fuel in order to reach its destination also there is no fence or barrier to ward off intruders or people intend to do harm to Somaliland & this part our government has failed badly & was shortcoming.

It's standard in the world when construction is to be done in airport, it should be awarded to a contractor by bidding and that contract must be accredited & very well experienced in construction of airport & Runways also that company must pass a back ground check & must show prove on previous work that it has completed. Our government did not do that & was saying the contractor is international Chinese company & that is far from the truth and it is dishonest.

As per the international civil Aviation organization & the aircraft manufacturers who agreed to use set of data that to be based the performance & the capabilities of airplane & its called International Standard Atmosphere Pressure. (29.92 inches of mercury & 15° C at sea level). However, only and rarely will the airplane actually operate under conditions that approximate standard atmosphere. Any increase in temperature or altitude means a decrease in the aircraft's optimum performance. As we know Hargeisa airport is 4420Feet above sea level. The high elevation above sea-level causes the Air density to decreases with the increase of the temperature. Furthermore, Warm air is less dense than cold air because there are fewer air molecules in a given volume of warm air than in the same volume of cooler air.

As a result, on a hot day, an airplane will require more Runway to take off, will have a poor rate of climb and a faster approach for landing and will experience a longer landing roll, the combination of high temperature, high elevation, weight of the aircraft, & the condition of the runway produces a situation that aerodynamically reduces drastically the performance of the airplane & this part the government the Civil Aviation Authority has failed to consider into account when they were planning the renovation of the Hargeisa airport & the runway

The Somaliland government & the Ministry Civil Aviation Authority, should have known that any aircraft with two engine or more, requires to accelerate to a specific speed for takeoff, and then in case of an engine failure, be able to stop safely on that runway, if that length to stop is not available, then this can be disastrous for airplane that does not have adequate Runway, also It's inconceivable from the Civil Aviation Authority to tell the Airlines to carry Less fuel , less cargo & to operate to Hargeisa such request is dangerous, costly & not profitable to the airlines, These & the lacking of strong security system such as concrete barrier with a strong fence line along the airfield are some of the risk factors that Airline operators (companies) and pilots have to assess in order to make informed decision

Don't blame Ethiopian Airlines for not flying into Hargeisa airport, the Ethiopian airlines is commercial & private company (not government own) & they have every right to choose which country or airport they see fit for their operations, the only option open for Somaliland government & Civil Aviation Authority is to negotiate and not force any other company if they decide not to operate to Hargeisa airport. While this current government is trying hard to do good things, first it must eliminate the corrupt individual & the corruption that tarnished its image. The Somaliland government & the Civil Aviation Authority must take the responsibility of all the mistakes & the Fiasco at Hargeisa Airport, & they should implement immediate correction

Improving the situation at Hargeisa Airport

The current available runway of 2.446 km & its pot-holed has been patched Hargeisa airport needs to be competitive with the rest of the neighboring airports it must have longer Runway, with the runway marking, lighting & the standard ICAO runway sign. For safety & security it must have concrete Barrier, Trenches & fence in all the parameter of the field. The length of the runway must be extended from 2.4 KM to 3.1 or 3.2 KM which equals to approximately 10,560 feet. That will make it safer & more suitable for a large passenger jet aircraft for day or night flights in hot or cold climate to operate in Hargeisa airport. Once this is done Egal International Airport can compete with the East African airports (Insha Allah).

Comparison Hargeisa Airport to the Neighboring airports


Runway length 13583 feet =4.14KM

Width 164 feet = 50Meter

Airport Elevation 30 feet above sea level

Hargeisa Airport

Runway length 8005 feet =2.4KM

Width 148 feet = 45Meter

Airport Elevation 4420 feet above sea level


Runway length 10335 feet = 3.1KM

Width 148 feet = 45 METER

Airport Elevation 581 feet above sea level

Addis Ababa

Runway length 12467 feet = 3.8KM

Width 148 feet = 45 METER

Airport Elevation 7656 feet above sea level


Runway length 10335 feet =3.1KM

Width 150 feet = 46 METER

Airport Elevation 13 feet above sea level


Runway length 12139 feet = 3.7KM

Width 164 feet = 50 METER

Airport Elevation 49 feet above sea level

Mohamed Ahmed Omar


Airline Transport Pilot

Certified Flight Instructor Airplane



0 #9 mohamed Khalid 2013-09-19 23:19
apply the brake set engine power that gives them more power to takeoff that's stander take off for short runway. Some airline have there own guide for takeoff.
0 #8 mohamed Khalid 2013-09-19 23:14
737 its possible to rotate meaning to climb up and to 108 degrees right I have done that with 757
0 #7 osman 2013-09-16 13:05
the fake china company is gone and the money is gone where to get several more millions to do the job right dahabshill?
0 #6 ali 2013-09-16 12:50
first thing firing of aviation minister is paramount and sillanyo should really pull up his socks and be a leader of somaliland not a somali clan.where were all the somalilanders who call themselves engineers?corru ption does exits in all human beings but we are too poor to waste any penny that comes our way.
+1 #5 cagadable 2013-09-16 12:34
Mr. Osman please don’t get confused what the captain is talking about is the airport elevation when the aircraft is on the ground “an increase of air temperature above standard (hot day) with the high elevation of the airport have a detrimental effect on aircraft performance it will need long runway for takeoff
In the air as the airplane climbs up, the temperature decreases & above 24000feet the temperature on the negative values (minus)
+2 #4 Abdi 2013-09-16 02:18
I think both Ethiopian Airline and the corrupt Somaliland government share the blame. Ethiopian Airline should have made a thorough inspection on the airport. Why did Ethiopian Airline land a plane at Hargeysa airport if the airport doesn’t meet international airport standards? Why did they reroute the Berbera flights? I hate to say both parties are incompetent.
+2 #3 osman 2013-09-16 00:17
please be corrected the higher you go in altitude the lower the temperature and not vice versa as highlighted in the article.
0 #2 Rageedii 2013-09-15 22:09
Simply incompetent and unexperienced contractor and corrupted government officials messed up this project. Lets hope its corrected promptly. They have to take responsibility of the consequences.
+1 #1 Hassan 2013-09-15 19:57
I am still boggled by the fact no one interested in the development of Somaliland was overseeing such a large project. This was one of the bigger tests this government had and it appears that it has failed miserably.

Thank You Mohamed for the concise review and comparison.

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