Somaliland’s Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SL-CAAA) on Tuesday accused Somalia’s government of misuse of airspace after Mogadishu turned back several planes headed for Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa.

Tensions between Somaliland and Somalia are set to escalate following Somalia’s obstruction of two airplanes bound for Hargeisa, including the Medic Airplane, in the capital of Somaliland. In response, Somaliland has announced it will implement new measures, placing the responsibility squarely on Somalia.

The Somaliland Civil Aviation Authority Chairman has issued a statement detailing a series of incidents involving airspace control. According to the statement, Somalia has reneged on agreements that stipulate joint management of the airspace and the sharing of resources generated from it. Somaliland authorities have accused Somalia of blatantly disregarding these agreements and politicizing the airspace for its own gain.


“The Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority (SL-CAAA) issues a critical notice to all United Nations agencies and the international community, effective February 13, 2024. In response to increasing aggression and misuse of airspace by the Mogadishu government, SL-CAAA pledges to take necessary steps to protect the airspace of Somaliland, preventing interference with arriving or departing flights at its airports,” the agency said in a statement.

A Closer Look At Somaliland's Pledge To Ensure Airspace Integrity“The SL-CAAA strongly condemns the Mogadishu government’s illegal actions, specifically targeting passenger planes, medical aircraft assisting citizens in urgent need, and those used by leaders and officials of Somaliland’s friendly nations.”

The recent obstruction of flights to Hargeisa marks a significant escalation in the longstanding airspace dispute between the two entities. Somaliland has condemned Somalia’s actions as unjustified and in violation of international aviation protocols.

In response to Somalia’s actions, Somaliland has vowed to take appropriate measures to safeguard its airspace and protect its interests. The precise nature of these measures has not been disclosed, but Somaliland authorities have emphasized that the consequences will fall squarely on Somalia’s shoulders.

The escalating airspace dispute adds yet another layer of complexity to the already strained relations between Somaliland and Somalia. The two entities have been engaged in a protracted standoff over issues ranging from territorial disputes to political recognition.

As tensions continue to simmer, the situation remains fluid, with the potential for further escalation looming large. The coming days will be critical in determining the trajectory of the airspace dispute and its implications for the broader region.

A Closer Look At Somaliland's Pledge To Ensure Airspace IntegrityBelow is the SL-CAAA’s Press Release

“Today, February 13, 2024, the Somaliland Civil Aviation and Airports Authority informs all parties concerned, among them, the United Nations International Civil Aviation (ICAO), neighboring countries, and other international civil aviation organizations, that any problems and disruptions that occur in the aviation and airspace of the country previously called the Somali Republic will be responsible for by the Mogadishu government. The Mogadishu government breached and abused the power and control of air traffic management that the United Nations put in their hands, as well as the international rules of aviation and the agreements between Somaliland and Somalia that were witnessed by agencies, international organizations, and other governments.

The Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of the Republic of Somaliland, with the help of its people, and friendly countries, will take every step to stop the increasing violations and protect its airspace.

We are reminding all the United Nations organizations, those on the continent of Africa, and the rest of the world that in 2012, the Republic of Somaliland started a bilateral dialogue with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, which was about the return of air traffic management from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to the Somali people (Somaliland and Somalia governments).

From 2012 to 2019, Somaliland and Somalia held high-level and technical dialogue that resulted in both sides agreeing on air traffic management and signed agreements in the presence of the hosting governments and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

A Closer Look At Somaliland's Pledge To Ensure Airspace IntegrityThe contents of these agreements are contained in the articles listed below.

  1. To return the air traffic management from the United Nations’ ICAO (CACAS project).
  2. The administration of air traffic management is returned to the authority of the two governments of Somaliland and Somalia.
  3. Air traffic management should be freed from politics and violence.
  4. Form a joint air traffic management board of the two countries.
  5. To make the air traffic management center in Hargeisa only (First Agreement).
  6. To establish two equipped centers in Hargeisa and Mogadishu (Agreement 2)
  7. Somaliland and Somalia should equitably share the air traffic management revenue in a ratio of 40% and 60%.

Unfortunately, successive governments in Mogadishu have not implemented any of these agreements, and they forcibly took over the Air Traffic Management Authority in 2018.

From 2018 to 2023, the government of Mogadishu has misused more than 60 million dollars from the air traffic management (Upper Space Navigation Charges) navigation charges, in which the Republic of Somaliland is entitled 40% of that amount to develop the country’s airports.

The Mogadishu government has also withdrawn from the agreement to bring and deliver complete air traffic management equipment to Hargeisa, which was later brought to Baidoa Airport. Similarly, during the temporary control of the air traffic management, the Mogadishu government disrupted a large number of civilian and cargo flights that were going peacefully and safely to the Republic of Somaliland.

The last of these incidents were the flight of the delegation of the Federal Government of Ethiopia,   and the second flight of the ambulance plane that was supposed to carry a citizen of Somaliland who needed urgent help.”