Thursday, 15 January 2015

Interview: Said Korshel, Somali Transport Minister

Full article in PDF format: page 63-67 & cover

In most places around the world, working in civil aviation would not be considered an especially dangerous calling.

Somalia, however, is not most places. On September 20, shortly before African Aerospace travelled to Mogadishu for this special report, Ali Mohamed Ibrahim, the general manager of Somalia’s civil aviation authority (SCAMA), was attacked by gunmen en route to his office.

The assassination attempt killed his driver and bodyguard, but Ibrahim managed to escape with his life. He is now receiving medical treatment in Istanbul, and we wish him well.

Such incidents are, regrettably, not uncommon in Somalia...

Somalia: Mogadishu Airport's facelift

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Abdullahi Mohamud, Somalia’s most senior immigration official, was working at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport before the outbreak of civil war in 1991, and he still works there today.

Flicking between CCTV cameras on a huge widescreen display in his airside office, Mohamud said the airport has undergone radical changes for the better in recent years.

The introduction of biometric passports was among the most noticeable improvements. When Turkish Airlines launched flights between Mogadishu and Istanbul in March 2012, Mohamud’s staff would seize fake travel documents on almost every Europe-bound flight. That flow of asylum seekers has since run dry, with the federal government’s new E-passports proving too hard for human traffickers to forge...

Somalia: The UN and AMISOM keep the peace

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Only about half of the 50 or so aircraft movements per day at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport are commercial transport services.

The other half are mostly operated by the United Nations (UN) and its myriad related agencies, providing a mixture of humanitarian airlifts; military support services for the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the multinational force battling Al Shabaab; and diplomatic or other VIP transportation flights.

It is a complex web of operations that hinges on various overlapping partnerships, so the number of entities and corresponding acronyms can get overwhelming...

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Interview: Olgan Bekar, Turkish Ambassador to Somalia

Full article in JPG format: page 56/57 & page 58

Anyone who doubts Turkey’s long-term commitment to Africa need only look at the growing number of star-and-crescent flags fluttering outside diplomatic missions across the continent. The distinctive red motif now adorns 36 embassies in Africa, three times as many as in 2009.

Each new mission speaks to the growing inertia of commercial and political ties between Ankara and its partners on the continent. Bilateral trade with sub-Saharan Africa is up tenfold since the turn of the century, totalling $7.5 billion in 2013. Among Turkish contractors, Africa now accounts for 19% of international business volumes. Turkey’s heavy-duty exports – notably iron, steel, machinery and vehicles – are helping the continent down the laborious path of industrialisation.

One embassy, though, stands out less for its economic providence than the simple audacity of being opened in the first place...

Interview: Paul Byrne, Flynas CEO

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There was no shortage of sceptics in the airline industry when Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s only private scheduled carrier, began operating long-haul flights in early 2014. Sure enough it took just a few months for the airline to scrap the new routes; return its widebody Airbus A330s; and hire yet another chief executive – the fourth in three years.

Incoming boss Paul Byrne, who took to the helm on 1 November, admits that the airline made a strategic blunder by going long-haul. Its limited overseas brand awareness and semi-budget product was always going to struggle when competing with better-established flag-carrier Saudia...