Ethiopian Airlines Plane Safely Lands in Addis Ababa After Being Redirected from Jijiga Airspace by Somalian Authorities
Hargeisa bound, the capital of the breakaway region of Somaliland, Ethiopian Airlines plane turned back to Addis Ababa after Somali authorities denied access to their airspace.
The BBC Amharic service reported that Mesfin Tassew, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, has confirmed that the plane was turned back before entering Somali airspace. The alleged reason was that the aircraft did not have permission from the Somali government.
“The plane that was flying to Hargessa is returned. The reason is that after it started flying ‘no permission is given on the part of Somalia,’ ” the CEO is quoted as saying.
ET 8372, a Dash 8-Q400, took off from Addis Ababa at around 8:30 a.m. and proceeded in the direction of Hargeisa. However, it was instructed to turn back while in the skies of Jijiga and subsequently landed back at Bole International Airport around 10:30 a.m.
Passenger information has not been released. BBC Amharic cited Somalia’s Minister of Information, Daud Aweis, who told the news source that the plane, denied entry into Somali airspace, was carrying senior Ethiopian government authorities en route to Hargeisa.
BBC Amharic reported that the Flight Radar website indicated two other flights to Somalia, including Hargeisa. The regular flight ET 372 successfully landed in Hargeisa around 11:00 a.m. local time.
On Wednesday, the Somali Civil Aviation announced on its official X page that it has took action on Ethiopian Airlines Flight.
“Today, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority took action to turn back an Ethiopian Airlines plane, Dash 8-Q400, flight number ET8372, from Somali airspace as it was found to be unauthorized. Adhering to international air rules and our rules, flights must obtain proper permission before entering airspace. The Authority emphasizes that unlicensed aircraft will not be allowed to enter the country’s airspace, prioritizing order and cooperation with global counterparts.”
However, according to the BBC, Somali Civil Aviation authorities have announced that regular flights between Addis Ababa and Somalia will continue.
Tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia, which is said to have the potential to destabilize the entire region and embolden al-Shabaab militants, escalated following Ethiopia’s signing of a memorandum of understanding with the breakaway region of Somaliland.
The agreement, signed on January 1, 2024, would, upon finalization, grant Ethiopia a 20-kilometer coastal land in Somaliland on a fifty-year lease term. In return, Somaliland would receive a certain percentage of shares from Ethiopia’s national assets, along with recognition of its statehood. Somaliland has existed as a de facto state since 1991.
However, Somalia perceives this agreement as a violation of its sovereignty and has been mobilizing diplomatic, political, and military support since then. In the 1970s, Somalia invaded Ethiopia and occupied up to 700 kilometers of land inside Ethiopia. Eventually, Somalia’s invasion was reversed after a decisive military victory in Karamara.
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