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Mogadishu airport gears up for management turnover

Friday, September 06, 2013

Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport is on target for the smooth transition of airport management to Favori LLC effective September 15th, officials say.

Favori is expected to upgrade Aden Adde International to global airport standards, including building a new runway and starting 24-hour operations, said Ali Mohamed Ibrahim, the airport's manager. At present, the airport only operates during the day.

In the past few weeks, the company has been bringing in equipment needed for upgrades, including cranes for loading and unloading cargo from airplanes, and for building a jet fuel storage tank and pumping station, Ibrahim said.

"The agreement with Favori to manage the airport is for a period of 20 years, during which the company will expand and rebuild the Mogadishu airport," he told Sabahi, adding that the $3 million worth of equipment has already reached the airport.

Favori, a Turkish state-owned company, was selected in January to run the capital's airport after the Somali federal government rescinded a 10-year agreement signed in 2010 with Dubai-based SKA Air and Logistics, saying SKA did not meet expectations.

SKA failed to fulfil the agreement that included upgrading the airport with new equipment to streamline operations, said Deputy Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Abdishakur Ali Mire.

"This does not mean SKA did absolutely nothing while they managed airport operations in Mogadishu," he told Sabahi, thanking the company for its efforts.

In preparation for the management turnover, Favori has started registering local airport employees currently under SKA payroll in order to transfer their jobs.

Mohamed Ibrahim, an SKA employee who works in the luggage claim section of the airport, said Favori has already registered at least 56 former SKA employees, and that number will be higher once the new company takes over.

He said he is confident his employment will be extended by Favori for the coming years.

Ensuring airport security

Favori officials have also been meeting with SKA and federal government officials to ensure the uninterrupted transition of security duties at the airport, Radio Mogadishu reported.

Favori is expected to facilitate airport security alongside African Union Mission in Somalia troops and Somali police, said Ali Salat, a 45-year-old police officer stationed at the airport.

"SKA had a security unit that we worked with and Favori similarly has a security unit that we will work with," Salat told Sabahi.

"Security is principally the responsibility of police and security forces," said airport police commander Hussein Abdinur Batar.

Police will continue to work with all partners operating at the airport to ensure there are no gaps, he told Sabahi.

Meanwhile, Aadan Kerow Abdi, a 36-year-old employee of the American Refugee Committee in Mogadishu, said he is excited about the prospect of having 24-hour service at the airport.

It is a positive step towards Somalia's recovery that will eliminate some of the obstacles travellers to Somalia face, he told Sabahi, adding that the airport's limited operations are particularly inconvenient for the many passengers who travel for work.


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