Amid Allegations of Frequency Jamming, Somaliland Asserts Airspace Sovereignty

The Somaliland government asserts successful management of its airspace, ensuring efficient services for numerous aircraft. However, this declaration has sparked tensions, as the Somaliland Aviation and Airports Authority denies allegations of airspace disruptions made by the Somali government.

Somaliland has also accused Somalia’s civil aviation authority of involvement in the killing of one of its employees, Abdinasir Muse Dahable.

Recent reports shed light on concerning incidents within the Mogadishu Flight Information Region (FIR) over the weekend. Nearly a dozen aircraft reportedly received instructions from unauthorized controllers, leading to conflicting directives. Unauthorized altitude changes, particularly prevalent in northern Somali airspace, underscore the ongoing political discord between Somaliland and Somalia. Despite Somaliland’s lack of international recognition, both entities vie for control over the airspace.

An incident involving an El Al Israeli airline flight from Thailand to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv has raised concerns about security vulnerabilities during flights through the Mogadishu FIR.

The Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) reaffirms its authority over the airspace, citing its designation as the Mogadishu FIR since the 1960s.

Adding complexity to the situation is the troubling discovery of frequency jamming, highlighted in a complaint by the Federal Government of Somalia. Deliberate interference with critical air traffic frequencies poses a significant aviation safety threat, violating international aviation laws and norms.

The dispute over airspace control intensifies as Somalia denies access to flights destined for Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital. Instances include the refusal of entry to an Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying senior officials, underscoring diplomatic tensions surrounding the airspace issue.

Amid accusations from Somaliland of mismanagement and fund misuse by the Mogadishu government, the airspace dispute carries extensive consequences. Allegations range from diverting funds allocated for airport development to neglecting to equip Hargeisa with essential air traffic management tools.

The Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SL-CAAA) pledges to safeguard its airspace, signaling a potential escalation in the conflict. With both sides asserting authority and tensions rising, the airspace dispute poses a threat to regional air traffic and safety measures.

As developments unfold, stakeholders in the aviation industry must closely monitor the situation and assess its implications for flight operations in the region.

Somali airspace regained its Class A classification in January 2023 after over 30 years. This change could potentially lead to an increase in daily flights to as many as 600.

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