Saturday, September 28, 2013

Xogmaal; Wareysi Khaas ah Aqoonyahan Axmed Xasan Carwo, La-taliyaha Dhaqaalaha ee Madaxweynha Somaliland.

Xogmaal; Wareysi Khaas ah Aqoonyahan Axmed Xasan Carwo, La-taliyaha Dhaqaalaha ee Madaxweynha Somaliland.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Ethiopian Airlines sends buses for stranded passengers in Somaliland

BREAKING NEWS: Ethiopian Airlines sends buses for stranded passengers in Somaliland

Stranded passengers have been loaded on to buses in Hargeisa en route to Ethiopia's Jijiga town after Ethiopian Airlines suspended its flights to Hargeisa citing security and poor infrastructure.

Some of the 450 stranded passengers have began leaving Somaliland on Thursday morning by land and are expected to reach Jijiga where an Ethiopian aircraft is waiting for them. The journey is expected to take about three hours.

The rest of the passengers are expected to leave in a weeks time. This is the 10th day they have been stranded in Hargeisa. It is not clear if Ethiopian has terminated its services in the region all together due to the rift between her and Hargeisa.

Not a single airline is landing in Egal International airport despite purported upgrade by the administration.

For more information and background on this developing story visit:

1) Ethiopia freezes flights to Somaliland as relations hit a new 'all-time low'


2) Ethiopian suspends flights to Somaliland region


Ethiopia freezes flights to Somaliland as relations hit a new 'all-time low'

Ethiopia freezes flights to Somaliland as relations hit a new 'all-time low'

Relations between Ethiopia and Somaliland region have hit an all-time low in the aftermath of Ethiopian Airlines termination of its flights to the northern Somali semi-autonomous region.

The suspension by Ethiopian without taking Somaliland's administration into confidence, embarrassed the Hargeisa leadership to no end.

The ordeal began after Ethiopian resumed its flights to Hargeisa's Egal Airport following a recent infrastructure upgrade including a new 2.4 km runway. Almost two weeks ago, an Ethiopian 737 with 120 passengers made a historical touch down by becoming the largest aircraft to ever land in Egal International airport.

The regional administration celebrated the event hailing it as a new chapter in the region's aviation. Mohamud Hashi Abdi, the aviation minister, said other airliners would follow suit.

But Ethiopian has since refused to return citing security and poor infrastructure as the two biggest concerns.

Even though the government of Kuwait has donated $10million for the upgrade, many sources in Hargeisa said not even 20% of that has gone towards the airport and it remains in poor condition.

The runway for instance was upgrade with basic tarmac that will not support heavy aircraft such as the Boeing 737. There are no runway markings nor have they built any parking or hangars for the aircraft. The perimeter remains vulnerable and very accessible to outsider intruders.

Ethiopian heavily protested its reluctance to trust its expensive airliners with such facility particularly when most of its Boeing 737 relatively very new.

Somaliland's Ministry of Aviation protested the national carrier of Ethiopia's claims during a press briefing in Hargeisa on Wednesday.

The Ministry's head of protocol Mr. Abdillahi Ahmed Arshe rebutted the claim saying security was not a motive for the pullout by Ethiopian Airlines.

More than 450 passengers remain stranded across Hargeisa for the 5th day and Mr. Arshe has called on Ethiopian to immediately compensate them. He denied his ministry made any mistakes and strongly defended Egal International Airport's infrastructure upgrade. He instead blamed Ethiopian for the ordeal.

"Ethiopian airlines should bear full responsibility requires airlines compensate passengers if their flight is cancelled or heavily delayed and also Ethiopian airlines also have a duty of care to look after stranded passengers," he said in a press release.

The fall between Somaliland ministry's aviation and the region's biggest carrier has equally created myriad fluctuations in Somaliland and Ethiopia's over all relations. The Ethiopian government has refused to intervene and so far has shown little interest in keeping relations with Somaliland region or any of its concerns despite the fact that Somaliland already dispatched two senior ministers, namely, Aviation Minister and Interior.

The Ethiopian government already handles Somaliland region with a distrustful eye since it accuses several senior ministers of having ties with Al Qaeda linked al Shabab group. Ever Since the Kulmiye administration of President Ahmed Silanyo came to power in mid-2010, Addis Ababa has protested Somaliland's presidency minister Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan, Religious affairs minister Sheikh Khalil Abdilahi Ahmed and Minister of Finance Sheikh Abdulaziz Samale as having links to al Shabab.

Meanwhile, Hargeisa dispatched a heavily armed anti-terrorist unit to disperse the stranded passengers who gathered in the city center on Wednesday night. More 400 people including sick women and children were asked to leave the premises of the travel agency that was handling Ethiopian Airlines tickets.

The freezing of Ethiopian to Somaliland comes days after Anglo-Turkish oil giant Genel Energy also pulled out off the region citing security.

Somaliland has been trying to secede from the rest of the Somali state for more than two decades to no success.

Ethiopian suspends flights to Somaliland

Ethiopian suspends flights to Somaliland 

The Ethiopian Airlines has suspended its flights to Hargeisa and Berbera in northern Somalia due to poor infrastructure.

The airliner was using a runway in the coastal town of Berbera until two weeks ago when Somaliland regional administration reopened the Hargeisa airport after minor upgrades. At first Ethiopian said the upgrade met its objective but after further studies it has discovered that Hargeisa airport does not meet her safety standards due to poor tarmac runway.

It insisted on resuming its Berbera route until the airport in Hargeisa was probably completed but the aviation minister, who was trying to safe his own face after the failure of the upgrade, insisted on them to use Hargeisa.

Ethiopian said it would not risk its multi-millionaire aircraft nor the safety of its passengers. The two could not reach an agree and as a result, Ethiopian has stopped its flights to Somaliland.

The airport has been going under maintenance for almost a year and the upgrade money was donated by the government of Kuwait. Majority of the funds were locally reported to have been stolen by corrupted officials linked to President Ahmed Silanyo and his immediate family.

The airport is now basically useless and many passengers are stranded in Hargeisa.

Because of this mess made by the corrupted regional officials in Hargeisa, many passengers missed their flights meaning many missed their university enrollments, schools and their jobs back in the Diaspora.

Video: Angry and stranded people in Hargeisa gather outside the Safeway Travel Agency that handles tickets for Ethiopian.

Ethiopian should immediately contact this stranded passengers and refund their tickets and explain to these people that the mess came from the office of Mohamud Hashi Abdi and the corrupted Silanyo.

Ethiopian is by no means not responsible for this drama.