By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The main Somaliland international airport of Egal in has successfully accommodated the biggest airplane to land in the capital Hargeisa.
The country’s historic aviation milestone was claimed by a Juba Airways operated Boeing737/400 aircraft that had 154 passengers and 6 crew members onboard.
Juba Airlines a locally owned airline With a brilliant zero accident credential to its operating safety record, took the bold step of landing the 737/400 which Boeing’s only narrow-body airliner at Egal international airport following runway upgrading commissioned by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo last month.
Immediately after on September 1, Ethiopian Airlines inaugurated a B737 service to Hargeisa airport’s while Kenya Airways is now poised to launch flights to and from Nairobi, says Ahmed Dalal Farah, director general of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport in Hargeisa.
Apart from accommodating bigger aircraft courtesy of runway elongation of 2.4km runway the new look airport has also attained better air control and radar equipment thus the ease in which it has managed to handle the big crafts.
With the opening of the Egal airport travelers will no longer need to utilized, as a matter of must, the Berbera international airport as has been the norm for the almost one year that works Egal under the financial sponsorship of the people of Kuwait and construction genius of the Chinese has been ongoing.
While speaking to Routes News journalist Piers Evans in Hargeisa last week the Somaliland ministry of aviation DG said that “Kenya Airlines has approved to open a direct route from Nairobi to Hargeisa, subject to commissioning teams coming in two weeks to assess the runway, safety and security concerns, as per the requirement of their company and KLM as the international partner,”
Exuding confidence that Egal international Airport will pass the test, having undergone the same process for Ethiopian Airlines operating between Hargeisa and Addis Ababa DG Ahmed Dalal Farah said that other carriers like Air Arabia, Yemen Airways and South African Airways are all considering new services to Somaliland.
Said he, “The business negotiation are still continuing and hopefully may materialize latest by the first quarter of 2014.”
During the re-opening ceremony of the city based airport president Silanyo extended the nation’s gratitude to the people Kuwait for facilitating the overhaul Egal International Airport largely through a grant worth $10 from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
In order to complete projected renovations the Egal airport’s runway will now be extended by a further 1.6km, while Berbera Airport will be upgraded with a new terminal, 16km of security fencing and improved screening and baggage facilities from the same Kuwait kitty that has allowed the government to utilize its resources in refurbishing regional airports beginning with Burao and Borame where works are at various stages of completion.
Back to lauding the Juba airways milestone the airlines Somaliland Country Manager Mr. Mustafa Aden Mooge informs that the 4th September inaugural flight of their Boeing 737/400 was a pilot landing whose successful accomplishment ensures that Egal and Berbera shall equally be served.
“Considering the extra travel forced upon passengers from Berbera airport to Hargeisa by an airline hired bus we are happy to inform that this arrangement is now a thing of the past” Said Mooge.
About Juba Airways
With a brilliant zero accident credential to its operating safety record, Juba Airways which was founded in April 1998 by a group of Somali entrepreneurs is continually enforcing the highest international aviation safety regulations. Future plans include leasing more aircraft to meet growing passenger demand and branching out to offer new routes to more destinations.
Juba Airways World Cargo is one of the leading cargo airlines in the region, carrying freight, mail and courier traffic to 15 destinations in more than 5 countries.
Juba Airways took its inaugural flight on 28 May 1998, a mere 30 days after the company was launched. This was the first direct flight from Sharjah to Mogadishu in seven years since Somali Airlines ceased operation.
Juba Airways is headquartered in Mogadishu, Somalia with branch offices located throughout Somalia, as well as in Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates.
As of January 2012, the Juba Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
• 2 Boeing 737-200 (5Y-BXG)& (5Y-BXZ)
• 1 Boeing 737-400 (5Y-BZL, hired from East Air)
• Berbera (Berbera Airport)
• Bosaso (Bender Qassim International Airport) –> Flights to MGQ
• Galkacyo (Galkacyo Airport) –> Flights to MGQ
• Hargeisa (Egal International Airport) –> Flights to MGQ
• Mogadishu (Aden Adde International Airport) Hub –> Flights to JIB, JED, DXB and HGA.
• Djibouti – Djibouti City – (Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport) –> Flights to MGQ and DXB
• Kenya – Nairobi – (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) –> Flights to MGQ
• United Arab Emirates – Dubai – (Dubai International Airport) Main Hub –> Flights to BSA, GLK, HGA, MGQ and JIB
• Saudi Arabia – Jeddah – (King Abdulaziz International Airport) –> Flights to MGQ