Monday, July 23, 2012

► SOMALIA: Government 'planning' to restart Somali Airlines.

Somali Airlines
The Somali Government on Saturday outlined possible plans to resurrect defunct Somali national carrier Somali Airlines (HH), more than 20 years after it collapsed.  Since then, the vacuum left has been filled by  several private airlines, amongst which are Jubba Airways, Daallo Airlines and Puntair.

"Mohammed Osman Ali “Dhagah-tur”, the general director of ministry of aviation and transport, told local media that plans to bring the white star carrier from scrap yards were already underway.
He said there was huge interest and market for the Somali Airlines to be salvaged as hundreds of thousands of Somalis are set to return back to the country from abroad after many years."

Somalia Airlines Network 1977
Somali Airlines once prolific network.
Since a raging civil war started in 1991 with the fall of the Said-Barre regime and the ensuing anarchy that followed with the arrival of Al-Qaeda linked Islamist organizations such as Al-Shabaab, Somalia has struggled to get back on its feet politically, with no functioning central government capable of uniting the now fractured country. Presently there are 4 "zones" in Somalia: The Federal Republic of Somalia (the only internationally recognized claimant to Somali territory), The Islamic Emirate of Somalia (the Al-Shabaab enclave), Somaliland (an unrecognized, autonomous region on the Djibouti border) and the northern region of Khatumo.

Fortunately, things took a turn for the better when in mid 2011, when with the aide of African Union troops, Mogadishu was freed from Al-Shabaab's clutches which has given the city a new lease on life, with foreign aide helping the fragile Somali Government to rebuild infrastructure that had been largely left to rot since the early 90s. 

In a sign of growing international confidence in the Somali Government, Turkish Airlines introduced an Istanbul - Khartoum - Mogadishu service in March 2012, the first major carrier to service Mogadishu since 1991, though few others have been as optimistic.