Somaliland: Egal Airport Attains International Standards


As president Silanyo commissions a 3.7km runway, 13km sq security perimeter fence and fire fighting equipment following completion of upgrading works funded by the governments of Somaliland and Kuwait.

Avition minister abdi hashi briefs president Silanyo on newly established fire fighting brigade at Egal international airport Hargeisa

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Egal international Airport has attained global standards for first class flight handlers.

This development follows three years of upgrading that culminated, with President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” on Thursday officially cutting the ribbon symbolizing the opening of Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport runway extension to support the arrival of wide-body aircraft and an increase in passengers arrivals.

Funded by the Kuwaiti government the extension will allow the airports runway to accommodate every type of commercial aircraft in the world, including the world’s largest, the Airbus A380.

In a glitzy ceremony held today at Egal International airport, president Silanyo also inaugurated 3 different airport renovation projects including; a 13km fence around the airport, new firefighting equipment and runway lightening which will allow aircrafts to land at night.

The ceremony was attended by cabinet members, members of Somaliland’s bi-cameral parliament, traditional leaders, religious clerics, foreign ambassadors, civil society members, aviation ministry and Egal airport staff and dozens of other high ranking guests.

The airport’s new extended runway which is 3.700M long will make Egal International airport runway the third longest runway in east Africa.

In his speech, President Ahmed Silanyo expressed his delight towards the opening of Egal International airport’s extended runway.

“I am over the moon today to witness this historic moment which is part of the ongoing pursuit of the government to establish and implementing much needed development projects and I also want to reiterate the commitment of this government to continue towards improving the livelihoods of Somaliland citizens” president Silanyo said.

Egal airport fire fighters demonstrate prowessPresident Silanyo also thanked Emir of Kuwait Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Kuwaiti government for donating the funds for the renovation and the rehabilitation of Hargeisa’s Egal International airport and Berbera airport.

Similarly President Silanyo expressed his gratitude to the individuals who have worked tirelessly to the renovation and upgrading of Egal International airport. “I express my gratitude to the minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport Mr. Mohamoud Hashi Abdi, airport and aviation ministry staff and other people who have worked tirelessly in the upgrade work at the Egal International airport” President Silanyo concluded.

extended runway
The airport’s new extended runway which is 3.700M long will make Egal International airport runway the third longest runway in east Africa.
United Kingdom Ambassador to Somaliland and Somalia Ambassador Neil Wigan who also spoke at the ceremony expressed his delight towards the renovation of Egal International airport where he stated that the airport’s new infrastructure will contribute to country’s economic development.

Originally a small facility built during the colonial period, the former Hargeisa International Airport was expanded and modernized in the 1980s by the Siad Barre regime so as to accommodate mid-sized aircrafts.

Minister Mohamoud Hashi Abdi
Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport Mr. Mohamoud Hashi Abdi speaking at the ceremony
Speaking at the ceremony Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport Mr. Mohamoud Hashi expressed his joy towards the extension of the airport runway where he also narrated the upgrading stages of Egal International airport.

President Silanyo officially commissions the new runway at Egal airport in Hargeisa “I am glad to say this will be the last and final phase which was to lay the asphalt was completed to extent the runway by 1.25 KM is completely different then the pervious renovation of Hargeisa Airport 2,466M runway, this be totally a complete new runway 3.700M long the second longest in eastern Africa and it is not laying piece of asphalt on ground or to existing runway. It involves excavating the site and building from the sub base of the runway”, he said. “The new part of the extended runway has being reinforced it with concrete materials hence making the runway strong so it can now support large heavy jets or any other aircraft that will operate in the future to Egal International airport. The Somaliland Civil Aviation and Air Transport has followed and adhered to the standards and the recommended practice of International Civil Aviation organization” Minister Hashi added.

Aviation Minister also pointed out that besides the extension of runway, additional taxiways and runway lighting system for night landings were added.

“When the work on the new runway was completed, we proceeded to the next stage which was the expansion of the existing length of the apron at the Egal international airport which is 1410M now being extended 100 x 50 meters in order to accommodate several aircrafts. For the safety and security of the passengers the Airport terminals and the Airport property the apron area will be expanded so the aircrafts can park away from the terminal plus adding an additional taxiway so that aircrafts can maneuver easily around the apron without damage to terminal property or the aircrafts and also installation of lighting system for night landings so that the airport can handle aircrafts day and night”, Minister Hashi explained.

Minister Mohamoud Hashi Abdi went on to say: “When the current government came to power the Egal airport was classed as class2 runaway by ICAO but now its class 7 runaway and when its finally completed it will be Class 10 runaway.

Among the new newly acquired vehicles were two state of the art Firefighting vehicles both which were imported from the UK through funds made available by the Ministry of Finance which have far reaching capabilities.

fire figthing system
The newly acquired firefighting vehicle has far reaching Firefighting capabilities that offer the latest advancements in fire safety technology by the well trained keeping in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
The two firefighting trucks have a high reach extendable turret with a skin-penetrating nozzle that acts as a mechanical arm for firefighter and the other one which falls under Category 9 Rescue is a special capabilities of fire-fighting the response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in an aerodrome (or potentially off aerodrome) ground emergency.

The newly acquired firefighting vehicle has far reaching Firefighting capabilities that offer the latest advancements in fire safety technology by the well trained keeping in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines the requirements for aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service .

a 13km fence around the airportOn the other hand Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport has introduced training its staff on upgrading firefighting capabilities.

“We also make sure the crews undergo extensive training and are equipped with the latest technology gear, which you can now see is in place at Egal international airport and although the facility has not had a disastrous event during the last twenty or so years doesn’t stop us from striving for greater safety preparedness in case the worst case situation arrives”, Aviation Minister said.

“We have being constant purchasing of materials for the last four years so as to make sure our crew have what they need to do their job effectively and now we are ranked as one of the most modern airports in the region, this is indicative of how hard the current administration led by HE President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo is committed to initiating development in each and every sector in the country” Hashi added.

Minister further stated that the airports rescue and firefighting mechanism was upgraded up to standard.

“One of the important thing in airport environment is an Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting, this is the first response in case an emergency at airport or in the vicinity of the airport & When the alarm sounds and aircraft rescue fire fighters (ARFF) are called to duty, they must use the skills they have learned through experience and training to save lives and to protect property”, Aviation Minister stated.

Aviation Minister also stated that the ministry of Civil Aviation deployed new state-of-the-art security equipment in order to ensure the airport’s security system. “We have in the past six months worked hard to guarantee and ensure security is at its highest levels in our airports, so we started by deploying two state of the art X-Ray machines to scan passenger luggage’s, Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) and CCTV equipment all around the airport with the aim of enhancing our security capabilities” Hashi said.

“We have managed to deploy two more X-Ray machines to scan passenger luggage’s at the arrival terminal and which will help in the tax collection through identification of cargo disguised as personal belongings, in fact I would like to inform you that this piece of equipment can and is able to detect dangerous cargo which demonstrates this equipment to be very reliable,” Minister Hashi added.

The Aviation Minister also went on to say, “During the last four years , we have been able to refurbish, renovate and build extra facilities necessary for the main terminal and same includes enlarged modernizing arrival and departure terminal lounges to cope with the increasing number of passengers using the Egal International Airport, as you can see we have install modern rotating glass doors, the refurbishing of all furniture we added an extra storey for the departure terminal to ease the congestion of passengers and can now accommodate extra 750 persons from the previous number of just 50 persons before President Silanyo came to power and which means 1000 people can be through the departure terminal in less than 1 hour at any given time.

“We have separately built a new structure which will house the machine used to scan and process incoming luggage and another similar structure to be used for checking departing passenger’s luggage as well as new full furnished business center which will cater for all the needs of the passenger and two water foundation meant to thrill passenger’s during their stay and we have added new resting areas to be used by people waiting for their relatives to arrive at the airport.

Minister Hashi also stated that when he came to office Egal airport was classed as class 2 runway by ICAO, but within a few months the airport jumped to class 7.

Egal International airport upgrading work include:

I. The deployment of a Human body scan machine, ATD and 2 X-Ray machines to check luggage at the main entrance to the airport
II. Expansion and renovations on the departure terminal
III. Construction of one top level departure terminal which can accommodate a least 500 extra people
IV. A new building to house x-ray machines meant to scan the luggage of new arrivals
V. Rehabilitation of the quarters used to search people before departures
VI. New building to be used by passengers on Transit.
VII. Two new buildings to be used as water reservoirs.
VIII. The installation of new Sky-light roofing for all terminals.
IX. Renovation of VIP Area
X. Newly constructed Lavatories to be used by visitors escorting or waiting for the relatives outside the airport
XI. New boards and signs meant to aid people with directions inside the airport.
XII. Two Backup electrical generators machines installed.
XIII. The introduction of new identification cards for all airport staff
XIV. The broadcasting of flights schedules for all incoming and outgoing flights through a loud speaker announcements.
XV. The installation of water tanks and piping system meant to water the Airport gardens.
XVI. New terminal seats and offices
XVII. Free access to internet facilities to be used by passengers while waiting to board their flights
XVIII. Deployment of hand held VGF Radio communication system to be used by airport staff
XIX. New gardens meant to beautify the airport landscape
XX. Concrete and security reinforcements at all terminal areas
XXI. Named after the late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, Egal International airport is one of the safest airports of entire Africa.

Since it’s inception in mid-1930 the airport hasn’t seen one major accident.

Watch below President Silanyo’s speech