On Wednesday, January 31, Somalia, through its Ministry of Transport and Aviation, officially inaugurated a new Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility at Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) in the capital of Mogadishu. This is the first MRO facility to be opened in Somalia in over 33 years, marking a significant milestone for the East African nation.
The completion of a three year project
The Blue Hangar, as it is affectionately known, is the first functional aircraft hangar in Somalia since the country’s state collapse in the early 1990s. The facility will provide maintenance checks and inspections for aircraft flying in and out of Somalia, contributing to improving safety and developing the country’s air transport sector.
The absence of a proper maintenance facility over the past three decades meant that airlines serving Somalia had to undergo maintenance checks in neighboring countries like Kenya and Uganda.
The re-development of Somali aviation
Somalia is an excellent example of how conflict and political instability can affect air transport in a country. After the outbreak of the civil war in the early 90s, many Somali facilities and entities ceased to exist, including the national carrier Somali Airlines. Furthermore, some countries warned about operating in Somali airspace and prohibited aircraft from flying below 26,000 ft.
While the political situation remains unstable, Somalia’s aviation sector has significantly improved over the last few years. In January 2023, air traffic control services resumed in the Horn of Africa country after more than 30 years, as the Mogadishu FIR was reclassified as ‘Class A.’ Less than a month later, IATA signed a landmark agreement with Somalia to strengthen collaboration in air transport.
Presently, about eight airlines have scheduled passenger flights to Somalia, with the majority flying to Mogadishu. This includes Ethiopian Airlines, Dallo Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines. Last March, flydubai introduced Boeing 737 MAX flights from Dubai to Mogadishu. This month, Kenya Airways will resume its Nairobi-Mogadishu service after a three-year suspension.