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Somalia turns back UAE plane en route to Somaliland as flights ban takes effect

Friday March 20, 2020

MOGADISHU (HOL) - UAE passenger plane that attempted to land in Somaliland after the Federal Government ban on international flights came to effect was forced to return to Dubai Thursday following the intervention of the civil aviation authority in Mogadishu.

According to a source close to the Somali Civil Aviation (SCAA), FlyDubai initially ignored the Notice to Airman (NOTAM) sent by SCAA and later also ignored communication by Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Mogadishu.

But in what now demonstrates Somalia’s ability to manage its airspace according to ICAO rules, the aviation authority engaged its opposite in UAE which instructed the flight to return to Dubai.

A navigation course according to Flightradar24 shows the Flydubai FZ661 which was en route to Hargeisa making a U-turn to Dubai before entering Somali airspace.

Ethiopian Airlines also cancelled all its schedule flights to Egal International Airport in Hargeisa effective March 19, 2020 with respect to NOTAM  issued by SCAA.

The Federal Government issued a flight ban last week which came into effect Thursday halting all international flights to Somalia for a period of 15 days in response to the global fight against the novel corona virus.

Somaliland also issued a ban on flights from Kenya, Somalia, China, Italy, Iran, France, South Korea and Spain which it said would take effect Thursday evening.

Somalia resumed full control of its airspace from mid-2018 when the caretaker authority in Nairobi handed over all the instruments of control to the Federal Government after over 20 years.


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