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Mogadishu airport passenger numbers up over safety measures

Mogadishu airport passenger numbers up over safety measures

 

MOGADISHU, May 1 (Xinhua) — The number of passengers using Somalia’s Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu has increased in recent months due to stringent security measures put in place by the authorities.

The airport’s General Manager in charge of Security and Administration, Gen. Abdi Ashkir Jama said on Sunday that the airport recorded the arrival of 7,811 international passengers and 5,570 international departures in March.

“At least 10 domestic daily flights link the capital Mogadishu to 23 other local destinations within Somalia,” Jama said in a statement released by African UnionPeacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Horn of Africa nation has begun implementing stringent measures to improve safety and security in the wake of a botched airline attack early this year.

A botched attempt to bring down a Daallo Airlines airbus on Feb. 3 caused Turkish airlines, a key international flyer, to stop its flights to and from Somalia.

The airline’s aircraft A321 flight was approximately 15 minutes in the air when a suicide bomber attacked it causing a hole in the fuselage.

However, pilots managed to land the aircraft back to Mogadishu Airport safely without any further incident.

According to Jama, among the measures introduced include round-the-clock security surveillance system, physical checkpoints, electronic detection systems and rigorous passenger luggage and cargo screening.

He said sniffer dogs will also be used and firearms completely banned within airport premises. The measures are aimed at boosting public confidence following the scare.

The Mogadishu airport underwent a major infrastructure overhaul in 2015 with support from the Turkish government. Jama said the facelift has eased the overwhelming congestion at the main airport.

Sonkor Jama Gelle, a frequent traveler between Nairobi and Mogadishu, is impressed with recent security measures.

“In the last month, I have observed a lot of improvements, especially new technology,” Gelle said.

“This is my first time in Somalia and I was impressed with the measures that have been put in place. I feel completely secure here after going through the rigorous checks,” Hanan, another passenger from Toronto, said.

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