Somalia airspace – pilots beware


(Posted 29th March 2024)


Courtesy of Aero Trail Ltd.


The airspace situation over Somalia has become increasingly precarious due to incidents involving unauthorized individuals penetrating cockpits and posing as air traffic control officers (ATCOs). These individuals issue conflicting instructions to pilots, posing serious risks of mid-air collisions.

A recent alarming incident involved an Ethiopian Airlines A350-9 bound for Dubai and a Qatar Airways B787-9, raising significant concerns. Another concerning event occurred on 24th March 2024 at around 12:43 AM (9EAT) involving Ethiopian Airlines flight ETH690 and Emirates Airways Flight UAE722, resulting in conflicting instructions but fortunately avoiding a catastrophe.

Somalia’s airspace falls under the Mogadishu Flight Information Region (FIR), a new airspace transferred from Kenyan administration in January 2023 after 31 years. It was reclassified as Class A airspace from its previous designation as Class G uncontrolled airspace. However, given the current challenges, there is a risk of reverting to Class G airspace unless improvements are made, highlighting the critical importance of addressing these airspace safety issues promptly.


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Adds ATCNews:

  1. Thanks to the team at the Republic of Somaliland aviation administration and air traffic control for their vigilance and readiness to step up and take corrective measures.
  2. The transfer back of airspace administration from a very capable Kenya to a clearly unprepared, poorly staffed, poorly facilitated Somalia, a country in continuous upheaval, was clearly politically motivated by the powers that be, but proves to be a very bad decision on the front line of aviation.


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