Somalia relocates air control tower from Nairobi to Mogadishu

Mogadishu, June 20, 2018 – Somalia government will control its airspace from its capital Mogadishu, after it closed its operating base in Nairobi this week.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations aviation body has been running the troubled nation’s airspace jointly with Somali Civil Aviation and Metrology Authority (SCAMA) since 1990, when it slipped into civil war.

The air control tower will now be at the fully refurbished Aden Abdule International Airport.

Several militant groups, notably Al-Shabab had claimed control of the country until three years ago when a combined African Union peace-keeping force ousted the militants, slowly restoring stability.

“We are pleased to announce that from today on wards the office operating in Nairobi has been closed and work will resume from Somalia. Somalia’s airspace will be controlled within Somalia after nearly 30 years,” state aviation controller, Somali Civil Aviation and Metrology Authority said on Monday.

The country’s minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Transport, Mohamed Salad lauded the historic move, with Somalis expressing optimism on the move that will increase revenues as the country stays on its rebuilding path.

ICAO has been collecting revenues on behalf of the government since 1991.

The relocation gained momentum in December last year after the government officially opened the refurbished flight information centre at the Aden Abdule International Airport.

In March, it relocated 34 air control personnel from the Kenyan capital to Mogadishu, setting the stage for its permanent shift.

Somali aviation industry has in recent years benefited from the Middle East spat that saw Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other neighbors stop flights with Qatar.

The nations had accused Qatar of supporting terrorist organisations in Egypt and the on-going Yemen crisis.

In June last year, Qatar Airways increased flights to Somalia following the row.

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