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Somaliland aviation authority accuses Mogadishu controllers of near-collision

Wednesday March 27, 2024

FILE - Egal International Airport in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somaliland Aviation Authority has again levelled accusations against Mogadishu's air traffic controllers after an alleged near-collision between Emirates Airways and Ethiopian Airlines on March 24, 2024. According to the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority's press release, the two aircraft "narrowly escaped a potential collision" due to "conflicting instructions issued by Mogadishu Control, directing both aircraft to converge at the same time and location."

According to Somaliland authorities, intervention by controllers at Hargeisa airport prevented a disaster by instructing the Ethiopian Airlines flight to increase its altitude to 39,000 feet, averting a potential mid-air collision.

The Somaliland Civil Aviation Authority expressed serious criticism regarding the operational failures in Mogadishu, stating: "It is deeply concerning that air traffic controllers in Mogadishu (Mogadishu Controllers) are recurrently making errors of this magnitude, posing significant threats to the safety of international flights traversing the region's airspace."

Neither Emirates Airways nor Ethiopian Airlines have confirmed the near-accident.

This incident is part of a series of concerning events attributed to air traffic control in the region. A near-collision between Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways was reported in late February, with the Somaliland Air Authority again citing mistakes by Mogadishu controllers as the cause. 

Before the near-miss, several reports surfaced indicating troubling scenarios in the Mogadishu Flight Information Region (FIR), including unauthorized controllers giving contradictory instructions to nearly a dozen aircraft. Somalia's Minister of Transport and Aviation, MP Fardowsa Osman Egal, warned of potential legal action if such actions persist, raising the possibility of redirecting international flights destined for Hargeisa through Mogadishu.

In contrast, the Somaliland Aviation Authority has repeatedly criticized Mogadishu's air traffic control operations, stressing the threat these errors pose to global aviation safety. 

Tensions between the self-proclaimed independent Republic of Somaliland and the Somali Federal Government have risen as a result of a New Year'sD Day maritime agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland. The political dispute has exacerbated current aviation safety concerns, with both parties accusing the other of disrupting airspace operations and communication.


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