Let me share my thoughts concerning about Hargeisa airport & Ethiopian Airlines. According to the IATA, ICAO & the International Air Law, the Safety & security of the airplane & its passengers are the responsibility of the airplane operator which is Ethiopian Airlines.
According to that same law the responsibility safety & security of that Airport falls on the shoulder of the airport operator, which is the government of Somaliland & the Civil Aviation Authority
The issue in here is that, the runway of Hargeisa airport is little short for a jet aircraft loaded with full passenger, cargo & full fuel for destination airport & alternate destination plus contingency plan, also at the moment there is no fence or barrier to ward off intruders or people intend to do harm to Somaliland & this part our government has failed badly & was shortcoming.
It’s standard in the world when construction is to be done at an airport, it should be awarded to a contractor by bidding and that contract must be accredited & very well experienced in construction of airports & Runways also that company must pass vigorous background check & must show prove on previous work that it has completed, also must have a financial assurance. Our government did not do that & said the contractor is international Chinese company. That is far from the truth and it is Dishonest.
As per the international civil Aviation organization & the aircraft manufacturers who agreed to use set of data that to be based the performance & the capabilities of airplane & its called International Standard Atmosphere Pressure. (29.92 inches of mercury & 15° C at sea level). However, only and rarely will the airplane actually operate under conditions that approximate standard atmosphere. Any increase in temperature or altitude means a decrease in the aircraft’s optimum performance. As we know Hargeisa airport is 4420Feet above sea level. The high elevation above sea-level causes the Air density to decreases with the increase of the temperature. Furthermore, Warm air is less dense than cold air because there are fewer air molecules in a given volume of warm air than in the same volume of cooler air. As a result, on a hot day, an airplane will require more Runway to take off, will have a poor rate of climb and a faster approach for landing and will experience a longer landing roll, the combination of high temperature, high elevation, weight of the aircraft, & the condition of the runway produces a situation that aerodynamically reduces drastically the performance of the airplane & this part the government & the Civil Aviation Authority has failed to consider into account when they were planning the renovation of the Hargeisa airport & the runway
The Somaliland government & the Ministry Civil Aviation Authority, should have known that any aircraft with two engine or more, requires to accelerate to a specific speed for takeoff, and then in case of an engine failure, be able to stop safely on that runway, if that length to stop is not available, then this can be disastrous for airplane that does not have adequate Runway, also It’s inconceivable from the Civil Aviation Authority to tell the Airlines to carry Less fuel , less cargo & to operate to Hargeisa such request is dangerous, costly & not profitable to the airlines, These & the lack of strong security system such as concrete barrier with a strong fence line along the airfield are some of the risk factors that Airline operators (companies) and pilots have to assess in order to make informed decision
Don’t blame Ethiopian Airlines for not flying into Hargeisa airport, the Ethiopian airlines is commercial & private company (not government own) & they have every right to choose which country or airport they see fit for their operations, the only option open for Somaliland government & Civil Aviation Authority is to negotiate and not force any other company if they decide not to operate to Hargeisa airport. While this current government is trying hard to do good things, first it must eliminate the corrupt individuals & the corruption that tarnished its image. The Somaliland government & the Civil Aviation Authority must take the responsibility of all the mistakes & the Fiasco at Hargeisa Airport, & they should implement immediate correction
Improving the situation at Hargeisa Airport
The current available runway of 2.446 km & its pot-holed has been patched Hargeisa airport needs to be competitive with the rest of the neighboring airports it must have longer Runway, with the runway marking, lighting & the standard ICAO runway sign. For safety & security it must have concrete Barrier, Trenches & fence in all the parameter of the field. The length of the runway must be extended from 2.4 KM to 3.1 or 3.2 KM which equals to approximately 10,560 feet. That will make it safer & more suitable for a large passenger jet aircraft for day or night flights in hot or cold climate to operate in Hargeisa airport. Once this is done Egal International Airport can compete with the East African airports (Insha Allah).
Comparison Hargeisa Airport to the Neighboring airports
Runway length 8005 feet =2.4KM
Width 148 feet = 45Meter
Airport Elevation 4420 feet above sea level
Runway length 13583 feet =4.14KM
Width 164 feet = 50Meter
Airport Elevation 30 feet above sea level
Runway length 10335 feet = 3.1KM
Width 148 feet = 45 METER
Airport Elevation 581 feet above sea level
Runway length 12467 feet = 3.8KM
Width 148 feet = 45 METER
Airport Elevation 7656 feet above sea level
Runway length 10335 feet =3.1KM
Width 150 feet = 46 METER
Airport Elevation 13 feet above sea level
Runway length 12139 feet = 3.7KM
Width 164 feet = 50 METER
Airport Elevation 49 feet above sea level
Mohamed Ahmed Omar
Airline Transport Pilot
Certified Flight Instructor Airplane