Monday, August 19, 2013

■ SOMALIA: Somaliland reopens Hargeisa International Airport following runway works.

Egal International Airport, the airport that serves Hargeisa, the capital of the self-proclaimed autonomous region of Somaliland, has reopened following the successful completion of USD4.6million in renovation and upgrade work to its runway, aprons and taxiways.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Saturday, August 17, Somaliland's president, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo, said the project was part of his government's plans to upgrade all aviation facilities in the country and to turn both Berbera and Hargeisa into regional feeder hubs.
The prioritization of both Hargeisa and Berbera airports is a great plus for the nation and is a major step forward in better connecting Somaliland to the rest of the African continent and the world.
Following last year's opening of a new terminal, the latest round of improvements to Hargeisa included:
  • the extension and resurfacing of runway 06/24 from 2'400m to 3'000m using asphalt, 
  • resurfacing of the main apron and taxiways with asphalt,
  • the installation of a runway lighting system,
  • the construction of a 13km long perimeter fence,
  • the modernization of the terminal and its ATC equipment.. 
Financing was provided via a USD10million grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to be used for the renovation of both Hargeisa and Berbera airports. In April, new security cameras were installed at the two airports, and in June, security scanning equipment donated by the British government was installed to inspect travellers and their possessions.

Construction was carried out by China's Hono Group. Ethiopian company Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction started work in Berbera airport in June.

Resurfacing of the apron at Hargeisa (somaliland)
The airport also uses five new wind turbines and a wind data monitoring station as part of a wind power development project built using a USD500'000 grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The turbines will now allow the facility to function 24hours a day.

Owing to Hargeisa's runway being out of service, Ethiopian Airlines was forced to resume regular daily flights to Berbera from July 2012. Flights had been suspended since 2008 due to security concerns.

According to the Somaliland Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport director,  Mohamud Hashi Abdi, it is hoped that within a year, the number of small private carriers plying routes between Hargeisa, Djibouti and Addis Ababa will increase.