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Africa

Somalia’s rekindled aviation industry

todayFebruary 6, 2024

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By Conrad Onyango, via bird story agency

 

The recent opening of Somalia’s first plane maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility is the latest indicator of the country’s efforts to revive a civil aviation industry that collapsed more than 30 years ago.

Christened the Blue Hangar, the facility in Mogadishu is a key step towards an independent industry, according to local officials, as it offers local flight maintenance capabilities.

“We succeeded in officially opening the aircraft maintenance hangar at the Aden Adde International Airport, and it is the first time in 33 years that the country has an aircraft maintenance facility,” Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Fardowsa Osman posted on X.

Over the past three decades, Somali planes have had to fly to Kenya and Uganda for routine maintenance and check-ups.

“It is another step that promotes the development efforts of the airport in the capital of our country, Aden Adde, and it is one that ensures that after today, the planes operating in our country will not go outside the country for troubleshooting,” said Osman.

Aerosom, the construction company that developed the hangar, said the facility would also create more jobs, enhance the country’s aviation skills, build self-sufficiency and bring pride to Somalis.

Details of the project’s cost are still not public; however, this is the first functional aircraft hangar in Somalia since the country’s state collapse in the early 1990s.

Somalia had a functional industry up until the outbreak of civil war, when many facilities and entities, including the national carrier Somali Airlines, ceased to exist. The country also had no functional control of its airspace after that time.

However, over the last year, things have started to look up for the Horn of Africa country.

In early January 2023,, Somali airspace was re-classified to Class A and operation of its air traffic was restored to Somali control after 30 years.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated at the time that all flights flying above a base altitude of 24,500 feet (7,467 meters) anywhere in the country would need to be cleared by Somali air traffic control.

Somali airspace had, since 1992, been classified as Class G (uncontrolled) and was run from Kenya until June 2018 when the Somali government transferred management of the airspace to Mogadishu. The reclassification is likely to see flights using Somali airspace – for which Somalia is able to charge a fee – increase from 400 to some 600 per day, according to officials.

In February 2023, IATA signed a landmark agreement with Somalia to strengthen and collaborate on the country’s air transport sector.

Since then, several scheduled flights have been re-launched, with the majority flying to Mogadishu.

Dallo Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and flydubai have introduced flights, while among African airlines,
Ethiopian Airlines already operates flights to the country’s capital and Kenya Airways is readying to resume a Nairobi-Mogadishu service in mid-February 2024, following a three-year suspension.

In Africa, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria and Ethiopia top the list of countries earning revenue from aircraft maintenance and repair.

Research firm Mordor Intelligence projects a modest growth of the African market over the next five years.

“Although the MRO industry in the region is smaller than in other regions of the world, the existing MROs are trying to increase their capabilities through strategic partnerships and expansion activities,” the research firm reports.

In a joint venture with Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines has invested in an MRO facility to expand that country’s capacity to manufacture aircraft parts, ahead of a 2025 deadline for the airline to convert its MRO division into a strategic business unit.

According to Mordor Intelligence, Africa’s Aviation MRO market will grow to around US$1.7 billion by 2029. The increase comes as regional airlines replace and expand their old fleets after resuming routes closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, or open new routes to bolster their bottom lines.

A report by US-based research and consulting firm Polaris projects that globally, the aerospace parts market will grow in value from US$888 billion in 2022 to US$1.4 trillion in 2032.

bird story agency

Written by: Contributed

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