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Three decades off the radar: Somalia eyes revenue boost with control of Airspace

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

The Somali Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority (SCAMA) is now eying grater revenue after taking over the control of the airspace which has for 30 years been controlled from Nairobi.

SCAMA, which regulates civil aviation activities in the Horn of Africa nation, said the airspace will now be controlled within Somalia as part of his government’s commitment to restore important public service.

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

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.

“We are pleased to announce that from today onwards 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,”

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Transport, Mohamed Salad

The move comes after the Somalia government in December 2017 inaugurated the offices and also installed equipment at Mogadishu International Airport, saying the move represents a significant step towards the development of the country.

ICAO has been controlling Somalia’s airspace from its regional office in Nairobi since the fall of the country’s central government in 1991. The UN body has also been collecting revenue on behalf of Mogadishu.

The government has since relocated more than 30 air controllers who were working in Nairobi to operate in Mogadishu.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.

 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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