A new international airport has been unveiled in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern state of Puntland. The airport becomes the third in the region and Puntland leaders hope it will help boost the country’s economy.
The new transit hub in north-eastern Somali town of Garowe adds up to a list of growing number of international airports in the Horn of Africa nation.
The 2.5 km runway and terminal was constructed by a Turkish company using funds from Kuwait and the local Somali business community as part of a government initiative aimed at encouraging economic growth in one of the country’s most strategic regions.
“This airport we’ve unveiled today is an example of local initiative – we are embarking on a massive infrastructure development of key ports and roads in the region under the community initiative we launched years ago”, Puntland’s President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said.
Local and international airlines have started flying the Garowe route – Air Djibouti and a local airline company are among the first, connecting Garowe and Addis Ababa in less than two hours.
“This airport connects Garowe to Addis Ababa and also Djibouti via Air Djibouti. This will boost trade between out three nations – we are looking forward to seeing fish from Bossaso being airlifted to Ethiopia”, Puntland’s commerce minister, Abdiweli Hirsi said.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo unveiled the new airport during his maiden trip to the region, eleven months after his election victory.
Farmajo says the new airport is an example to other regional states in the country that relying on grants and foreign aid won’t deliver any development.
“It’s time we put an end to relying on foreign aid – and rely on taxes we collect locally. Each country is built by revenue collected from its public. If there was no peace we wouldn’t have recorded all this progress. New airports, new roads in this region are clear testaments to the initiative of both the administration and the Puntland locals, he said.
It’s the second major infrastructure development in this region – this newly constructed airport is expected to connect Puntland to the other regions of the country and also a major economic boost for a nation emerging from decades of conflict and instability.
In 2016, China’s Civil Engineering and Construction Company constructed a 2.4 km runway in Puntland’s coastal city of Bossaso -connecting Somalia to Gulf Countries.
Several international airlines already make daily trips to major Somali cities including Mogadishu, Hargeysa, and Bossaso – and this new initiative is expected to attract more airline companies – reduce air travel across the country and beyond and connect Somalia to the rest of the world.