By: Ismail lugweyne
Somalilandsun – Hargeisa airport, which falls on latitude 9.517, longitude 44.0831, Airport ID 353600, world area code 573 and known as per IATA as HG was opened by the duke of Gloucester in 1957 during the colonial period, but the Airport was expanded by the previous regime of Siyad Barre in 1973 and 1980 to cater smaller size aircrafts operating local flights and also the ex-south Yemen (Aden).
The airport was severely damaged during the liberation struggle with previous regime of Siyad Barre. From the independence time of Somali-land, little improvement was done earlier than the current government leading by President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation there are 7,833 registered airports world-wide, which included Egal Hargeisa International Airport. The airport was serving approximately 4,000 passengers monthly prior the new facilities was completed, which was coming from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and the Middle East. Subsequent receiving funds from Kuwait, the contract for the new runway was awarded to China Hino group, which have a record of 21 years’ experience after successful bidding in the amount of US $ of 4,436,000 to extend the terminal up to 2.4 kilometer, so the same can host large carriers such as all the ranges of Boeing 737, Airbus 320 and other aircrafts of equivalent sizes.
In accordance with standard contract terms, the payment for the project was conditional to be released upon completion of each phase. Kuwait government being, the financer of the project has nominated a third party from their end to certify the completion of each phase, so that, the payment for that phase be released to the concerned contractor. That was what exactly happened in the case of the contractor of the project and the payments of all stages of the project were released subsequent to the financer receives the certification of their nominated their third rectifier.
Another contract in the amount of US $ 800,000 was awarded with another a prominent local construction firm Dareel following successful bidding to refurbish, renovate and build extra facilities necessary for the terminal. The same includes enlarged modernizing arrival and departure lounges, as well installing five new wind turbines wind data monitoring station will also assist in powering the airport.
Prior reopening the airport, Ethiopian airlines has dispatched a team of technical experts to inspect the runway and the other airport facilities and verify the suitability of the airport to cater the big Ethiopian aeroplanes and that scrutiny has obtained the approval of the Ethiopian officials, which led the resumption of many international flights including Ethiopian carrier, Boeing 737 -800 body.
With small budget, we managed building this medium size airport, however, in the event we have bigger amount finance, we would have built better airport that can cater the biggest aircraft carriers.
The extended terminal carried out by a qualified and experienced craftsmen, that ensured the quality of finished products and the same has exceptionally pleased by most of true somalilanders in view of the airport new structure and re-arrangement, as this the gate way of Somali-land and the newly airport could influence and attract more air traffic from the region and possibly many more from elsewhere in the near future.
However, recently after the airport was reopened the, Ethiopian airlines has halted their regular flights to Egal international airport for some unknown reasons, but not less than a week ago, an official from Ethiopian airlines Mr. Biniyam Demssi (Public Relations Officer) has confirmed that their flights suspension is nothing to do with the airport facility and therefore, the allegation of airport unsuitability to cater big aircrafts is totally unsubstantiated and unfounded as authenticated by the Ethiopian airlines as point out on top of the article.
In conclusion, even though this government has accomplished tens of other achievements, however, the expression which articulates that, the journey of thousand miles starts with one step is based on factual truth.
With regard to constructive criticism, in broad contest is assessment; review and observation experienced by an individual to the subject of shared matter and conducting in constructive manner produce enhanced outcome beneficial to all of us without exception. When criticism meets this standard, then it attains approval, praise and appreciation to every sincere citizen.
Anyone who observes this principle is merit to be honored as an ethical personality, but criticism just for the sake of criticism does not serve for any good purpose, but contrarily that approach damages the national interest of the country and therefore, it is our broad interest of eliminating this unhealthy practice, as this manner is obstacle to our shared awareness. In reality constructive criticism generates binding rules and trust among the society.
Ismail lugweyne – Rabasoro55@hotmail.co.uk