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Eastern Africa News Network

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Somalia Airspace Opens Up again for travel

One Minute Past Midnight on January 26, 2023, the airspace over Somalia is being restored to become fully operational, easing transport in Eastern and the Horn of Africa region.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it welcomes the reclassification of airspace over Somalia and the surrounding region to Class A.

It means the air traffic control services over Somalia skies will be restored after a 30-year disruption.

The development comes a day after the East African Community Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania dispatched a special mission to Mogadishu to see the possibility of admitting Somali into the EAC.

The Somali airspace will now become an important floating hub linking the African subcontinent south of Ethiopia with the Middle East and Indian subcontinent as well as Western Europe with the Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean islands.

Officially known as the Mogadishu Flight Information Region (FIR), the Somali airspace covers the landmass surrounding the Horn of Africa and extends into the Indian Ocean.

“The reclassification of the Mogadishu FIR as ‘Class A’ airspace will significantly improve safety in the region and enhance efficiency,” states IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, Kamil Al-Awadhi.

Collaborative efforts of the Somalia Airspace Special Coordination Team, comprising the Somali CAA, IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organization, adjacent FIRs and airlines made it possible.

Resumption of air traffic control in the Mogadishu FIR has been made possible with the installation and commissioning of modern radio navigation and other technological infrastructure.

“The upgrade of air traffic management and improved navigation and communication infrastructure will enhance situational awareness along an increasingly busy air corridor and its intersections with routes linking many of the world’s regions,” added Al-Awadhi.

All flights operating in Class A airspace must be cleared by air traffic control which is also responsible for maintaining lateral and vertical separation between aircraft. In the Mogadishu FIR, Class A airspace is the sky above the base altitude of approximately 24,500 feet above mean sea level.