Jubba Airways celebrates 20 years in the skies

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Mr. Abdullahi Diria Warsame, Managing Director of Jubba Airways
Mr. Abdullahi Diria Warsame, Managing Director of Jubba Airways

Jubba Airways, a regional airline that serves East Africa is celebrating two decades in business in 2018. Abdullahi Diria Warsame told HOL that Jubba Airways – described by many as Somalia’s ‘unofficial national carrier’ – was founded in April 1998 and from its inaugural flight, their mission was to connect East Africa to the world.

“Looking back at the company’s two-decade history”, Mr. Abdullahi Diria Warsame, Managing Director of Jubba Airways, says “We founded the airline in April 1998 with a group of entrepreneurs to establish a reliable airline to accommodate domestic and regional air
transportation throughout East Africa.”The five entrepreneurs raised $US 800,000 from Somali businessmen and investors and made its inaugural flight on May 28, 1998.

Since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, the main airport was largely closed as warring clans fought fiercely for control for anything that can generate revenue. Jubba Airways was forced to land at desolate airstrip miles from the capital. Shortly after, flights were then redirected to Baledogle, a military base 95km from the capital.The company is named after a river that snakes down central Somalia.

“From its inaugural flight, the airline’s goal was to meet the demand for air travel in East Africa, particularly Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya,” says Warsame.

Somalia’s sparsely distributed population, poor infrastructure and perilous security situation make travelling by land dangerous. These disadvantages make for ideal situations for airlines jostling for position in what is quickly becoming one of the most profitable routes in Africa.

 Since it’s inception, Jubba served as Somalia’s when it was cut off from the rest of the world, and itself. Businessmen, the diaspora and religious pilgrims relied on the airline to deliver reliable air transport.

Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport today is a far cry from when Jubba Airways began its operations in Somalia. Today regional airlines and international carriers alike battle for their share of a lucrative market.

After two decades in service, Mr. Warsame said that Jubba Airways takes pride in delivering high levels of performance and customer care and becoming one of the largest single carriers in the region.

Last October, their customer care was put to the test when a Jubba Airlines flight on welcomed the unscheduled arrival of an extra passenger after a mother gave birth mid-air. After delivering her healthy baby, the passenger named her child after the Jubba Airways employee who went above and beyond to assist her during her labour.

Warsame is optimistic about the future for Jubba Airways and the travel industry in Africa. He said that the airline hopes to establish more regional flights while giving priority to under-served routes in domestic and regional sectors with hub and distribution.

“We see a great potential and a growing demand for African airlines especially 
for direct flights to Europe and Asia,” he says. Mr. Warsame adds that various African governments are investing in airport infrastructures as well as developments in other sectors across the region, underlining that such projects will pave the way for more free and easier travel 
between countries in the African continent.

 

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