Mogadishu — The company SKA Air & Logistics, based in Dubai, has just almost two years ago signed a ten-year contract with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to operate the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu.
Aviation and logistics service provider SKA Air & Logistics (SKA) has signed a contract to manage operations at Aden-Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.
The ten year contract has been signed between Somalia's transitional government and SKA, however no financial details were disclosed.It agreement will include management of terminals, security, screening, passenger security.
Shabelle Media Network correspondent Omar Nor has interviewed Mike Douglas, president and CEO of SKA Group, about their Aviation and logistics services in Aden Adde International airport in Mogadishu, Somalia capital.
First, Mike Douglas can you describe us what you achieved since SKA has arrived in Mogadishu airport?
Well, we have been here in Mogadishu for almost two years and what have achieved is quiet considerable. We basically came in Somalia with an agreement with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to manage and develop Mogadishu international airport.
I think if you look around, today in Mogadishu international airport, will see some significant changes since we have been here. We have invested over six hundred million dollars in equipment and training.
We have trained over 120 Somali local nationals and we have given them international standard certifications, which never heard before in this airport in the last 20-years or achieved. We have continued to improve the services in the airport to the international standard which has given confidence for the international airlines like Turkish airlines to be able to come to Mogadishu airport.
Before that no airliner of these claps would have come in Mogadishu airport, because of the security, passenger security and package screening.
Can you tell us more about what are the challenges ahead?
We have many challenges and it I difficult to say in a short interview how many, and I think that one of the biggest challenge is to ability to bring here experiences that is need to make real progress, and as I mentioned, we have invested lot of money in training Somali nationals and staff and Somalia was in a very bad situation for over 20 years where many have no life and job, so this is big challenges for us.
The other challenges we have as every one knows there is uncertainty about the politics and this is import time for the future of Somalia. We are turning a corner with new government is coming on august 20 and there are a lot of support from the international community and I think we can overcome all of these challenges.
Mr. Douglas as you know Somalia is going to have a new government, so what kind of relation would have with it?
Well, we want to have a positive relationship with the elected Somali government and wer are committed to be here for along time. We are investors and we are one of the first international companies to come here and invested our own money.
We took a big risky when we made that decision and we are not looking for short-term gain, we are looking for the next 10 or 20 years to be part of the future of Somalia.
Many people ask what kind of deal you have signed with TFG, so can you explain us the agreement?
Well, we have signed what we call "a private partnership plan" this is an agreement for the next ten years to manage the operations in the airport. We split the revenue from the services we provide in the airport with TFG. We are putting money back into the economy. We invested a lot of money and we did make money in Somalia.
How is your relation with Somali government?
Our relation with TFG is very positive and we have supported the government in everywhere we could, not only developing the airport, we assisted it helicopters, and evacuating casualties from Somalia to abroad for medical treatment.
What SKA group is planning in the next future in Somalia?
We are hoping to expand our businesses of air and logistic services. We are willing infrastructures and invest to help develop the economy of Somalia. We are one of the few companies who are prepared to take the risk.
Mike Douglas you are doing difficult jobs in Somalia, so how do you see that?
Really, I think we have achieved a lot and we certainly have learned a lot this is the key, Somalia has a different situation compared to the other countries we operate.
Lastly, what is your message to the Somali people?
My message is very simple, now Somalis have real opportunity for their future, the first time in 20 years to come out with the problems in the past and I say the people of Somalia make use this opportunity and we are here to support you.
Thanks you, Mr. Douglas.