On 15 March 2020, the civil aviation of Mogadishu regime has sent the attached NOTAM or Aviation Notification advising the international community that the airspace of Somaliland/Somalia is closed a period of 2 weeks effective 19 Mar 2020 in response to health concerns related to Coronavirus COVID 19.
Mr President, the million-dollar question is what course of action or counter proposal did the Civil Aviation of Somaliland make. There is no evidence that Somaliland has sent any counter proposal in the form of counter NOTAM via ICAO and IATA advising the international aviation and concerned airlines that the Somaliland/Somalia airspace is open and the claim made by Mogadishu is a hoax.
The other important development in the context is the fact that Mogadishu has installed radio system which enables them to contact the high-flying aircraft whereas Hargeisa Tower has no such capability.
The real deep concern is why Somaliland is until now unable to buy a radio called HF to communicate with neighbouring stations as well as the aircraft navigating on the higher levels in the air.
At present, Hargeisa airport is equipped with a radio communication gear called VHF which is only for aircrafts approaching the airport like a domestic airport which is ineffective and not suitable to convey our voice and the clear argument supporting our right to safeguard our airspace.
Somaliland Civil Aviation obviously needs to improve it is communication equipment and skills and to adopt more effective management with the aim of countering the threats represented by Mogadishu aviation which has no influence in Somaliland airspace, whatsoever, but falsely and repeatedly claiming otherwise.
In addition, Your Excellency, the government of Somaliland should write an Urgent Protest Message to ICAO reporting the illegal violation of international airspace of rules by the Mogadishu regime following their communicating with FZ661/19mar bound to Hargeisa on HF and advising the Flydubai aircraft to return back to origin. Mogadishu tower falsely informed the pilot of the aircraft in question that Hargeisa Airport is closed which was totally incorrect. As we are all aware, no Somali official has set foot in Hargeisa Airport for almost 30 years and they have no influence, whatsoever, on the airport operations.
The airspace of Somaliland/Somalia is classified under uncontrolled Class G; hence there is a violation by the Mogadishu air traffic controllers. This matter should not be left without due punishment, as it is ICAO’s responsibility to control the airspace of Somaliland/Somalia airspace – no one has authority to stop flights except ICAO.
The Bottomline is, Mogadishu aviation is presently on class G and have no power over the affairs of Somaliland airspace and Hargeisa Airport operations. The airspace is still under ICAO.
Having said that, Mogadishu guys are currently working on upgrading their status and Somaliland should not wait until they are upgraded to a higher class.
Muse Mohammed Sabriye
& Hassan Abdi Yousuf
Senior Banker & Geopolitical Analyst
Riyadh Saudi Arabia