There is no ban on flights to Kismayu, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) has said terming media reports the aviation body had banned flights to the coastal until Thursday as ‘falsehoods.’
Senior officials at the SCAA told HOL there was no such directive banning flights to Kismayu but instead airlines were directed to seek ‘special permit’ 24 hours prior to flying to Kismayu.
The Notice to Airman (NOTAM) dated September 22, 2019 seen by HOL instructs airlines to send an email with details to the aviation authority prior to travelling.
“All international and local flights operating to and from HCMK are required to request special permit from SCAA by sending an email to SCAA@SCAA.SO 24 hours prior to departure and they must route via HCM, due to government requirement,” the notice reads.
The official said there were flights including one from Red Cross which flew to Kismayu Monday. “The media reports that we banned flights to Kismayu are complete falsehoods,” the official who did want to be named told HOL.
Earlier, local media reports some quoting airlines indicated the SCAA had grounded all flights to Kismayu with effect September 23 to September 26 which coincides with the end of the inauguration ceremony of Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe.
Former president Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was blocked Sunday from traveling to Kismayu with his delegation. Both Ahmed and his successor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud lashed out at the government for ‘violation of citizen rights’.
Mohamud said the government was using the ‘airspace as a political weapon’.
Any airline wishing to depart to Kismayu, the SCAA official said, can do so freely but must obtain authorization in advance.