As the security situation improves in major Somali cities, private airline companies have started offering domestic flights to areas captured from the local fighter group Al-Shabaab.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Several airline companies have already begun flights to the towns of Baidoa, Beledweyn and Kismayo. The flights resumed in December 2012 after government forces asserted their control in the south and central regions --once served as Al-Shabaab’s major strongholds.
However, AU forces remain responsible for airport security, until Somali forces can take over the security of the country. Government ministers, lawmakers and security forces also use these flights to visit the newly liberated areas, as allied forces push back the Al-Shabaab from south and central Somalia.
The local flights have eased the flow of people from rural to urban areas as many families either move to Mogadishu or other cities. The airliners have highly assisted in airlifting emergency cases to the capital as it offers the best medical care compared to the other cities.
The Horn of African nation is slowly recovering from a two-decade civil war and Al-Shabaab militancy. For many years, lack of security and poor road conditions restricted people from travelling to other parts of Somalia. But with local flights up and running, many Somalis now have access to those regions.
Currently, several private East African airlines fly into Somalia from Dubai and neighboring Kenya as many Somalis continue to stream into the country in the hope of rebuilding it.
In March 2012, Turkish Airlines launched flight from Istanbul to Mogadishu, the first by an international carrier outside East Africa in two decades. The twice-a-week flight has made travel easier for both Somali businessmen and the diaspora.
Business is also picking up throughout most of the country. Many people are returning home to invest in projects as the country is slowly returning to the international community after being seen a failed state for 22 years.
Several years later, Kismayo airport is open to local flights, the locals have welcomed this move terming it as a sign of an improvement in security.