The Somalia Minister for Transportation and Aviation, Mohamed Abdullahi Salad ‘Oomaar’, categorically banned all foreign-owned commercial airlines plying the Somalia-Somaliland trade from landing at ‘Somalia airports’ without a valid working permit from his office at a time his Somaliland counterpart was busy selling number plates in Hargeisa.

The Minister, talking to the Somali-speaking section of the Voice of America, Monday, revealed that only airlines which have fully met the aviation checklist they follow can land at ‘Somalia international airports’.

“Foreign airlines land at several international airports such as Mogadishu, Kismayu and other places. These airlines can continue plying that trade only if they apply for and secure a valid permission from the Somalia Transportation ministry,” he said.

“Registration, safety, the crew are among the items included in the checklist against which we check an airline’s application,” he said.

The Minister pointedly avoided mentioning Somaliland or Somaliland airports, lumping together, instead, with the rest of the ‘Somalia’ airports he was talking about. The VOA did not accord any special reference to Somaliland, either, at any point in the interview.

The new edict further consolidates Somalia’s full control of Somaliland airspace in the absence of a credible, potent challenge from a cowed Somaliland government which, critics accused time and again, of gross dereliction of its responsibility to the public on this score.

The Minister went on say that he was currently on official visit to ICAO offices in Montreal, Canada, following up on projects that have been put on hold since ICAO handed over Somalia/Somaliland airspace control and management to Mogadishu on June 18. 2018.

This comes at a time Mr Oomaar’s Somaliland counterpart, Minister Abdullahi Abokor, is, indeed, very busy repainting vehicle number plates and trying to sell them back to motorists at exorbitant prices.

Mr Abokor, in an attempt to justify the changes he, together with the minister of Finance, introduced and the 250% raise of taxes previously levied on the plates, said “there was a need to do an inventory on working vehicles, computerize the data, and repair roads’. He could not, however, adequately explain how these tasks warranted such an unacceptable hike in plate price tags.

The new, Somalia order will greatly affect commercial flights run by airlines such as FlyDubai, Air Arabia, Ethiopian Airlines, Djibouti Air, and many more who, naturally, believed that their Somaliland permits sufficed.

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