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Somalia to resume domestic flights next week

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Domestic flights will resume in Somalia early next week, the state-media reported, but no specific date has been issued by the ministry of transport, which has the authority to regulate the aviation sector in Somalia.

Since March 28, air travels have remained suspended in the Horn of Africa nation, a measure is taken to curb raging Coronavirus, which has caused havoc to the aviation industry across the world for almost six months now.

Also suspended at the same time were international flights, a move which saw Aden Adde International Airport put under tight security just to protect the population from possible infections particularly those from abroad.

The state media said the government has "put in place" all mechanisms to enable smooth local flight resumption but with "strict" protocols which will be imposed on all players starting next week, but no definite date was given.

With nearly dysfunctional road transport and high insecurity risks due to unending conflicts, Somalia often relies on its skies for quick transportation. Aircraft are considered as the best mode of transport even by all organizations operating in the country.

Multiple sources intimated that the international flights will also resume by the end of June, a move which will be a reprieve to the local market which depends on imports and exports. Many companies among them Ethiopian Airlines and the Fly Emirates play Somalia routes.

Details from the government indicate that the current NOTAM [Notice to Air Men] issued by the Somalia Civil Aviation Authority expires on June 8, another indication that the domestic flights will resume before the said date.

However, despite the optimism that comes with the resumption of the flights, the country is yet again confronting the reality over incidents involving aircraft in Somalia space, a move that could further raise questions about the government's preparedness.

Last month, an aircraft carrying medical supplies was short down at Bardale in Southern Somalia by Ethiopian National Defense Forces leaving six dead. Two weeks later, suspected Al-Shabaab militants also ambushed another aircraft within the Bay region.

The two incidents have attracted retribution from members of the international community, whose workers usually prefer to use air transport. Despite having one international airport, Somalia has many airstrips which are gazetted by the authorities.

As of Wednesday, the country had recorded 2,146 positive cases of COVID-19. Of these victims, 401 have recovered following rigorous treatment across the country while 79 have since died, records from the health department indicate.

In recent months, the country has been receiving donations from partners such as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Turkey. Most of these donations are dispatched to federal states to help in battling the pandemic.


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