Hargeisa — Somaliland government rejected an aircraft attempting to land at Egal International Airport in Hargeisa on Tuesday, after Somaliland officials said the plane requested to use airspace from the Somali Federal Government (SFG), Garowe Online reports.
Somaliland's Ministry of Aviation released a press release on Tuesday detailing the incident that forced a SS34 aircraft to double back after receiving permission from the SFG in Mogadishu.
"After the air-traffic controllers notified the Ministry of Aviation about the aircraft entering Somaliland airspace and its intentions to land without receiving permission, we requested that the plane leave Somaliland airspace immediately," said Somaliland Aviation Ministry's Chief of Protocol Abdullahi Ahmed Arshe.
This is the first time that the Somaliland government barred a plane attempting to use the unilaterally declared independent country.
Mr. Arshe continue to state that Somaliland would protect its sovereignty and would not allow it to violated.
"Somaliland has airspace and boundaries like any other sovereign nation, and we will not allow anyone that is attempting to use our airspace without permission. And also to those who think or dream that permission from the SFG that it is a false dream," said Mr. Arshe.
The rejection of airspace use from the Somaliland government underlines the deteriorating relationship between the two administrations. The UN Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority for Somalia served as a caretaker for Somalia's airspace after the civil war. The organization collected aviation revenues for the country.
Established in 1996 and based in Nairobi, the aviation authority was abolished in May 2013 and the responsibility was reassumed by the Somali Federal Government. Somaliland upset about the move, retaliated by banning UN flights to Somaliland after the incident.
The SFG has yet to comment on the move by the Somaliland government.
Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.