- Somaliland: UK Enhances Security Cooperation
- Somaliland: “Our Nationhood and Sovereignty are Sacrosanct” Gen Shakale
- Somaliland: Government Protests Ethiopian Sanctuary for Warlord Galayd
- Somaliland: Country with an Impossible to Hide History
- Somaliland: Building Literary Traditions Devoid of an Alphabet
- Somaliland: Adde Breaks 23 years of Allegiance as he Purportedly Joins Habsade in Garowe
- Somaliland: iROKOtv.com Announces New International Content Package for Internet TV Service in Africa
- Somaliland: Busiest Weekend for Italian Navy and Deadliest for Illegal’s Crossing the Mediterranean
- Somaliland: “Yes, My Son Has Joined ISIS”-Eng. Warabe
- Somaliland: Air Arabia launches flights to Chittagong, Bangladesh from Ras Al Khaimah
- Somaliland: Busiest Weekend for Italian Navy and Deadliest for Illegal’s Crossing the Mediterranean (44)
- Somaliland: “Our Nationhood and Sovereignty are Sacrosanct” Gen Shakale (5)
- Somaliland: City Councillor Turns Land Grabber and Night Construction Engineer (1)
- Somaliland: Government Protests Ethiopian Sanctuary for Warlord Galayd (40)
- Somaliland: UK Enhances Security Cooperation (1)
|Somaliland: Redeveloped Airports Boost Prospects|
|Monday, 16 September 2013 21:36|
AIN Air Transport Perspective
By: Ian Sheppard
Somalilandsun - Somalia might conjure images of pirates and Blackhawk Down, but the northern autonomous region and former British protectorate of Somaliland remains a peaceful, although economically depressed, place reports ainonline.
Last month the international airport at the capital, Hargeisa, "re-opened" following renovations and modernization, funded to the tune of $10 million by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
Part of the funds went to Berbera Airport, a former Russian Cold War base and later U.S. air base with good access to the deep-water port on the Gulf of Aden. Ahmed Farah, Somaliland's director general of civil aviation, told AIN that a Chinese mining company (China Hono Group) won the contract to upgrade Hargeisa Egal International Airport with a Kuwaiti consultancy advising on the projects, along with an Indian consultancy group.
Somaliland hopes the development will help revitalize its economy. "Airports are the gateways to the country," Somaliland minister of civil aviation and air transport Mohamud Hash Abdi said at the August 17 opening. "How they are built and modernized can lead to economic growth as well as regional integration." Farah said that the two airports would serve as hubs, for passenger and cargo traffic respectively, for the country and for the wider Africa/Middle East regions.
"The airport has not been developed since 1991," Farah said. "But Somaliland trade has been improving since 1991 and Russian aircraft have been coming in since the 1990s."
Although traffic has tapered, Farah said that airlines recently have shown considerable interest; for example, Ethiopian Airlines plans to start flights to Hargeisa from Addis Ababa twice a day using Boeing 737-700/800s. Somaliland authorities granted operational approval to the airline on September 1, said Farah.
Meanwhile, he recently met with Titus Naikuni, the CEO of Kenya Airways. "Despite the fire [that destroyed the terminal at Nairobi] they have approved the route from Nairobi, subject to a visit by their technical team, due in mid-September," said Farah. Some charter operators from outside the country have also shown interest. However, "we would be hesitant to offer them fifth freedom rights," he confessed. "We're protective of local charter operators."
The airport's runway has undergone resurfacing and now extends 7,875 feet in length. Five wind turbines provide power. "We have one runway but we have abundant land," said Farah. The airport also enjoys a relatively large catchment area–inhabited by 100 million people–estimated Farah, even though the Somaliland population totals only 3.5 million.
Russian-built Berbera Airport already boasts the longest runway in Africa at 13,582 feet and it served as an alternate airfield for the Space Shuttle at one time. "Two airlines are interested in creating a hub at Berbera: Air Arabia [the low-cost carrier] and South African Airways, [the latter] because South Africa has a large Somali population," Farah told AIN. Reports from the region indicate that Yemen Airways has expressed interest in creating an air link with Sana'a, the Yemeni capital.
Bridging Investment Gap in Somaliland
You are not aloneWe have 228 guests online
For details visit Salaamfinancial