Somalilandsun: The flight ban imposed on two low cost Emirati carriers shall not be rescinded anytime soon unless a number of conditions are met.
This was the decision reached at an extraordinary council of ministers held in office for the first time since March this year when Covid-19 related restrictions were imposed in Somaliland.
The meeting chaired by President Muse Bihi Abdi at the Somaliland presidency had two sole objectives, react to the UN and Somalia agreement on a sustainable development framework and discussions on the fate of the landing rights ban imposed on two United Arab Emirates owned carriers namely FlyDubai and Al-Arabiya.
The first agenda related to the recent UN and Somalia’s agreement on the sustainable development cooperation framework was quickly out to rest with the government issuing a statement which rejected the deal which was termed “an infringement upon Somaliland’s sovereign integrity and violates its internal affairs” as the Government asserted that Somaliland was not part and parcel of the Somalia administrative regions, was never part of it and will never be.
Thus making poignant the Somaliland position on the deal made in Mogadishu the council of ministers’ sitting in Hargeisa went head into the fate of the two Emirati carriers.
To jumpstart briefing were the attorney general, solicitor general and the director of the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority-SCAAA
The trio who informed the council that neither of the two airliners have a formal agreement with SCAAA makes the flight sanctions legal as per international norms.
That revealed the council saw its members taking pro and anti ban lifting sides which resulted in a lengthily debate between the two sides.
Those in favour of lifting the ban thence resumption of flights to Egal International airport by the two carriers were fronted by the interior minister Mohamed Kahin and included all members with origin from East Burao whose clansmen are in close association with operations of the Emirati airliners.
The let FlyDubai and Al-Arabiya airlines stay banned from flying into the country was fronted by Livestock minister Saeed Sulub and his commerce counterpart Mohamud Hassan Sa’ad (Saajin) with support from the SCAAA director and the Attorney general.
After discuss the cons and pros of the sanctions the meeting decided that the ban should be continued until legal agreement measures are put in place and applied, that the flight agreement be solidified and that efforts towards such agreement should be putting into consideration the boosting of the country’s economic perspective.
And most important both airliners issue a formal letter of apology to the government and people of Somaliland for the conduct leading to flights ban.
The saga of the sanctions emanated after the two carriers abruptly suspended their flights on orders from Somalia federal authorities in March this year.
According to aviation website CH-Aviation, a flydubai Boeing 737-800 operating as flight number FZ661 was en route from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Hargeisa Egal International Airport (HGA) when it was asked to return to the United Arab Emirates.
The incident involving aircraft registration number A6-FEV occurred on March 19 after the Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) demanded that the low-cost airline complies with a Somali government ban on international passenger flights. Since the incident, flydubai and Sharjah-based Air Arabia have stopped flying to Somaliland.
The acceptance of this command from Somalia is directly related to subsequent ban order issued by the Somaliland authorities and which is now to remain in place until formal agreements and apology