Baidoa Airport Upgrade Boosts Somalia’s Aviation Capacity

30 May 2024

Baidoa Airport Upgrade Boosts Somalia’s Aviation Capacity

Baidoa - The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) has commenced a massive project to fence off Shaati Gaduud Airport in Baidoa, South West State of Somalia, to enhance the safety of aircraft and passengers and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

The rehabilitation of Baidoa Airport began in 2021 with UNSOS initially tarmacking 2.5 kilometers of the runway and taxiways. The success to date has involved the Strategic partnerships, coordination and joint efforts between UNSOS, the Government of Somalia (FGS), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

The fencing project stretching about six kilometers will be implemented in two phases.

UNSOS Aviation Section has ensured that the runaway and tower works have been completed and has supported capacity building to ensure the smooth running of operations. 9 Somali Civil Aviation Airport rescue staff have completed the Air liaison officers training and will join ATMIS Ethiopian National Defense Force

(ENDF) at the airport for On the Job Training and Mentoring. Somalia ground handling companies have also been trained.

The inauguration ceremony of the chain link fence project at the airport was presided over by the South West State President, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Laftagareen” and attended by senior officials from the UN, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), and state administration officials including the Sector 3 Commander, South West State Minister of Transport, South West State Chief of Staff, South West State Somali Civil Aviation Authority Director General.

“Today, we are here for the commencement of phase two of the rehabilitation project of the airport, which involves building a security fence of over three kilometers around the runway. The project is fully funded by UNSOS which completes the final trajectory of building projects for Baidoa,” said UNSOS Chief of Aviation Services, Ernest Manzano during the groundbreaking ceremony in Baidoa, on Tuesday.

Mr. Manzano commended the South West State leadership for their cordial relations, which he noted is critical for the successful implementation of the rehabilitation project at the airport.

The fencing project will define the boundary of the airport, enhance access control, and guard against potential threats from wild animals, thereby ensuring a safer environment for both civilian and military operations, among others.

“With the introduction and implementation of the runway fencing, operations will be much safer and free from incursions by wild animals such as dogs,” said Mohammed Shameem, UNSOS Air Operations officer in Baidoa.

Shameem noted that the rehabilitation of the airport’s runway and taxiways, implemented earlier by UNSOS has resulted in an increase in flights and passenger traffic, significantly contributing to the economic development of Baidoa town.

“Baidoa’s runway development and rehabilitation have greatly uplifted the town. People here depend entirely on air transport, and with the project's completion, all kinds of aircraft can operate safely,” he added.

The South West State Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hassan Abdinoor Adan commended UNSOS for the continuous support, especially in the implementation of projects that positively impact the local community.

“UNSOS has worked with us on numerous occasions, it has done a lot for this country in particular Baidoa Airport where it renovated 2.5 kilometers of runway. With the fencing of the airport, we will be saying goodbye to incursions on the runway and ensure safety. We thank UNSOS for this and look forward to more areas of collaboration in the future,” said the minister.

UNSOS is mandated to provide logistical support to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), ATMIS and Somali Security Forces (SSF).

Additionally, UNSOS conducts capacity building for SSF and the Somalia Aviation personnel with the ultimate goal of developing Somalia’s aviation industry.

“We also have in place a multinational, multicultural capacity-building program where we work alongside Somali security forces and Somali Civil Aviation to develop capacity for the country’s aviation sector,” noted Manzano.

Recently, UNSOS completed a comprehensive training program for the SSF in Southwest State on a wide range of areas including aviation security, airport firefighting, tactical military operations, air traffic control, medical evacuation, meteorology, and drone operations.

Upon completion of the airport fence project, UNSOS plans to construct a 6-kilometer service road along the runway. Additionally, runway lights and markings will be installed to facilitate 24-hour operations at the airport.

The project took about two and half years to complete.

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