Authorities at Somalia’s Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu have begun implementing stringent measures to improve safety and security in the wake of a botched airline attack early this year.
They include round-the-clock security surveillance system, physical checkpoints, electronic detection systems and rigorous passenger luggage and cargo screening, the airport’s General Manager in charge of Security and Administration, Gen. Abdi Ashkir Jama said in a recent interview.
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.
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,” Ms Hanan, another passenger from Toronto, said.
A botched attempt to bring down a Daallo Airlines airbus on February 3 caused Turkish airlines, a key international flyer, to stop its flights to and from Somalia.
In the incident, a suicide bomber who managed to smuggle an explosive device in his laptop on board a Djibouti bound airplane, detonated it, blowing a hole in the side of the airline as it took off.
The force of the explosion ejected the bomber from the plane. His body was found near the district of Bal’ad, about 30 kilometres from the capital.
Somalia’s premier airport underwent a major infrastructure overhaul, last year with support from the Turkish Government. The facelift has eased the overwhelming congestion at the main airport, Gen. Jama said.
This March, the airport recorded the arrival of 7,811 international passengers and 5,570 international departures. At least 10 domestic daily flights link the capital Mogadishu to 23 other local destinations within Somalia.