Somalia has announced that it has regained the control of its airspace which has not been under the control of the government for more than two decades, an official has confirmed.
Ministry of Air and Land Transport of Somalia Mr Said Jama Qorshel said that they have agreed with the International Civil Aviation Organisation to handle over the control of the airspace to the Somali government.
‘’ Our airspace will be controlled from Mogadishu and all the necessary equipments will be transferred very soon,’’ he told reporters after arriving from Canada where he went to meet the ICAO officials.
Mogadishu airport is currently upgraded to an international standard through a project funded by the Turkish government and expected to be completed in the beginning of 2015.
After the collapse of Somalia’s central government in the 1991 civil war, the United Nations Development Program and the International Civil Aviation Organization founded a civil aviation caretaker authority for Somalia in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Beyond providing air traffic services to flights within and through the airspace of Somalia, these successive United Nations bodies failed in the fulfilment of the rest of their mandate: i) provision of technical and operational assistance at designated airports and to local administrations in Somalia; ii) establishment and operation of a nucleus civil aviation administration for the functioning of CACAS; iii) formulation and implementation of training program for national personnel; and iv) formulation of procedures and draft regulations required for the operation and maintenance of civil aviation activities.
But Mr Qorshel voiced concerns on lack of professional workers which he said that it will take time to train them.
‘’ At the mean time we don’t have professional Somali workers to handle this job, but the government will train them,’’ he said.
Between 80 and 100 regular flights enter Somalia’s airspace daily. Each of these flights is liable to paying an estimated navigation fee of $275 per entry. Everything remaining constant between 1993 and 2011, a conservative estimate of total revenue (collected or not) thus exceeds $150 million. The self-supporting project currently generates an average of $9 to $10 Million a year. There has not been a full, transparent accounting of how that money has been and is being managed nor where it may be.