By Goth Mohamed Goth
A well-attended ceremony was today held at the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport for the opening of the Egal Airport new runway extension.
President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo speaking during the occasion the said, “I glad to here today to witness this historic moment which is part of the ongoing pursuit of the government to establish and implementing much needed development projects and I also want to reiterate the commitment of this government to continue towards improving the livelihoods of Somaliland citizens”,.
“I express my gratitude to all people who have worked tirelessly in the upgrade work at the Egal International airport, most of the minister of civil aviation and air transport and also all the staff at the Ministry,” stated President Silanyo.
President Silanyo thanked the government of Kuwait in their generosity for donating the funds for construction work Egal international airport and Berbera airport.
President Silanyo also congratulated the government and people of Ethiopia as they mark the (Ginbot) national day.
“The prioritization of both Hargeisa and Berbera airports is a great plus for the nation, this is a major step forward in better connecting Somaliland to the rest of the African continent and the world”, said Minister of Aviation.
The Minister Civil Aviation and Air Transport speaking during the ceremony said, “The construction work of additional 1.25 km (1250 M) extension was completed together with to the previously renovated 2,466M runaway which was completed almost two years ago the work on the new runway extension began nearly one year ago, now the new runway is 3.7KM (3.700M).
“I am glad to say the Egal airport new runway length is 3.700M long ,the second longest in eastern Africa ”, he said.
Hon Mahmoud Abdi Hashi added , “The new part of the extended runway has being reinforced it with concrete materials hence making the runway strong so it can now support large heavy jets or any other aircraft that will operate in the future to Egal International airport. The Somaliland Civil Aviation and Air Transport has followed and adhered to the standards and the recommended practice of International Civil Aviation organization.
“When the work on the new runway was completed, we proceeded to the next stage which was the expansion of the existing length of the apron at the Egal international airport which is 1410M now being extended 100 x 50 meters in order to accommodate several aircraft’s. For the safety and security of the passengers the Airport terminals and the Airport property the apron area will be expanded so the aircrafts can park away from the terminal plus adding an additional taxiway so that aircraft can maneuver easily around the apron without damage to terminal property or the aircraft and also installation of lighting system for night landings so that the airport can handle aircraft’s day and night”, he stated.
Hon Mahmoud Hashi Abdi speaking during the function said, “When the current government came to power the Egal airport was classed as class2 runaway by ICAO but now its class 7 runaway and when its finally completed it will be Class 10 runaway.
Among the new newly acquired vehicles were two state of the art Firefighting vehicles both which were imported from the UK through funds made available by the Ministry of Finance which have far reaching capabilities.
The two firefighting trucks have a high reach extendable turret with a skin-penetrating nozzle that acts as a mechanical arm for firefighter and the other one which falls under Category 9 Rescue is a special capabilities of fire-fighting the response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in an aerodrome (or potentially off aerodrome) ground emergency.
The newly acquired firefighting vehicle has far reaching Firefighting capabilities that offer the latest advancements in fire safety technology by the well trained keeping in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines the requirements for aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service .
On the other hand Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport has introduced training its staff on upgrading firefighting capabilities.
“We also make sure the crews undergo extensive training and are equipped with the latest technology gear, which you can now see is in place at Egal international airport and although the facility has not had a disastrous event during the last twenty or so years doesn’t stop us from striving for greater safety preparedness in case the worst case situation arrives”, Aviation Minister said.
The Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport speaking at the ceremony said, “We have being constant purchasing of materials for the last four years so as to make sure our crew have what they need to do their job effectively and now we are ranked as one of the most modern airports in the region, this is indicative of how hard the current administration led by HE President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo is committed to initiating development in each and every sector in the country.
“One of the important thing in airport environment is an Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting, this is the first response in case an emergency at airport or in the vicinity of the airport & When the alarm sounds and aircraft rescue fire fighters (ARFF) are called to duty, they must use the skills they have learned through experience and training to save lives and to protect property”, Aviation Minister said.
The Aviation Minister on the new facilities said, “We have in the past six months worked hard to guarantee and ensure security is at its highest levels in our airports, so we started by deploying two state of the art X-Ray machines to scan passenger luggage’s, Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) and CCTV equipment all around the airport with the aim of enhancing our security capabilities.
“We have managed to deploy two more X-Ray machines to scan passenger luggage’s at the arrival terminal and which will help in the tax collection through identification of cargo disguised as personal belongings, in fact I would like to inform you that this piece of equipment can and is able to detect dangerous cargo which demonstrates this equipment to be very reliable,” he said.
The Aviation Minister also went on to say, “During the last four years , we have been able to refurbish, renovate and build extra facilities necessary for the main terminal and same includes enlarged modernizing arrival and departure terminal lounges to cope with the increasing number of passengers using the Egal International Airport, as you can see we have install modern rotating glass doors, the refurbishing of all furniture we added an extra storey for the departure terminal to ease the congestion of passengers and can now accommodate extra 750 persons from the previous number of just 50 persons before President Silanyo came to power and which means 1000 people can be through the departure terminal in less than 1 hour at any given time.
“We have separately built a new structure which will house the machine used to scan and process incoming luggage and another similar structure to be used for checking departing passenger’s luggage as well as new full furnished business center which will cater for all the needs of the passenger and two water foundation meant to thrill passenger’s during their stay and we have added new resting areas to be used by people waiting for their relatives to arrive at the airport.
Hon Mahmoud Hashi Abdi speaking during the ceremony said, “When the current government came to power the Egal airport was classed as class 2 runaway by ICAO but few months ago its class 7 runaway and now its Class 10 runaway.
1- The deployment of a Human body scan machine, ATD and 2 X-Ray machines to check luggage at the main entrance to the airport
2- Expansion and renovations on the departure terminal
3- Construction of one top level departure terminal which can accommodate a least 500 extra people
4- A new building to house x-ray machines meant to scan the luggage of new arrivals
5- Rehabilitation of the quarters used to search people before departures
6- New building to be used by passengers on Transit.
7- Two new buildings to be used as water reservoirs.
8- The installation of new Sky-light roofing for all terminals.
9- Renovation of VIP Area
10- Newly constructed Lavatories to be used by visitors escorting or waiting for the relatives outside the airport
11- New boards and signs meant to aid people with directions inside the airport.
12- Two Backup electrical generators machines installed.
13- The introduction of new identification cards for all airport staff
14- The broadcasting of flights schedules for all incoming and outgoing flights through a loud speaker announcements.
15- The installation of water tanks and piping system meant to water the Airport gardens.
16- New terminal seats and offices
17- Free access to internet facilities to be used by passengers while waiting to board their flights
18- Deployment of hand held VGF Radio communication system to be used by airport staff
19- New gardens meant to beautify the airport landscape
20- Concrete and security reinforcements at all terminal areas