The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), are in a dispute over the transfer of Somalia’s airspace.
ICAO’s role of collecting fees and navigating airspace continues to cause plenty of concern due to a lack of progress and sincerity in supporting the FGS in maintaining its own airspace.
Following the collapse of the central government in 1991, ICAO worked alongside transitional administrations; now, beyond the days of civil wars, ICAO exhibits a lack of interest in transferring authority back to Somalia.
According to reports provided to Hiiraan Online, there are senior officials at ICAO and the Nairobi office who view their temporary managerial role of Somalia’s airspace as a permanent one without any obligations or consideration of FGS requests. They refuse to upgrade Somalia’s capabilities and instead remain adamant on upgrading Nairobi offices instead of agreed-upon terms for establishing a fully-functional Mogadishu control hub.
Furthermore, instead of upgrading facilities in Mogadishu and engaging in capacity building for the Mogadishu Air Traffic Control Center as clearly indicated in the publicly disclosed contractual agreement between FGS and ICAO, the consistent actions of ICAO reflect upgrades for the Nairobi Office and minimal support towards intended goals. Mogadishu Airport hasn’t seen any upgrade since the Siyad Barre government.
In fact, three containers comprised of equipment worth millions of US dollars en route to Nairobi were accidentally sent to Mogadishu. The FGS refused to hand-over this equipment; and, according to our source, these containers are sufficient enough to provide Mogadishu with full capabilities to control its own airspace. Yet, the most recent correspondence between senior ICAO officials states ‘ICAO has requested CPDLC equipment originally intended for Nairobi but shipped to Mogadishu ….. be returned to Nairobi’. Not just once, but several times, the senior ICAO officials have requested for these containers to be sent to Nairobi.
The newly appointed Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Mohamed A. Salat, is keen on pursuing all necessary steps to empower the aviation sector. In a letter sent by the current Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, he emphasizes the unwavering commitment of Somalia in retaking full control of its airspace by stating ‘the Nairobi-FISS office was a temporary solution … which has served its purpose’. Investing heavily in a temporary solution in Nairobi is an impediment to progress and development in Somalia’s aviation sector.
However, even after repeated requests to the ICAO not to upgrade the Nairobi office; sources working at the Nairobi Office, who’ve requested to remain anonymous, have confirmed a new shipment of equipment worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars just arrived for installation this week.
Empty building at Mogadishu Airport.
Other sources have confirmed to Hiiraan Online that legal consultations are ongoing in Mogadishu with international law firms to explore different options as this dispute enters a new phase; but one thing remains certain, as the investigation continues into ICAO’s conduct and blatant disregard of FGS, there’s plenty of controversial evidence detrimental to ICAO bound to surface.