Hargeysa (SLpost)- An Ethiopian Airlines 737 Boeing airplane made history by being the largest airplane to make a landing at the newly opened 2.4 Kilometers of runway at Egal International airport today as the national carrier of Ethiopia added Hargeisa to its growing list of international destinations.
Hon Mohamud Hashi Abdi, the Somaliland Minister of Aviation, was among those who witnessed history in the making as the largest airplane ever to make a landing in the 58 year history of the airport.
Speaking during the occasion Hon Mohamud Hashi Abdi said the new route will increase trade ties between the two Horn of African nations.
The Egal international airport was opened a week ago after the completion of the last phase of the re-carpeting of runway and modernization of the facility which was initiated nearly one year ago.
The newly opened 2.4 Kilometers runway has been completely refurbished, and the arrival and departure terminals have been renovated.
A Chinese mining company (China Hono Group) was awarded the contract to upgrade the Egal international airport in a deal worth $4.5 million with the Somaliland Ministry of Civil Aviation & Air Transportation in Hargeisa.
During the events leading up to the Somali Civil War in the early 1980s, the airport’s infrastructure was significantly damaged. However, the facility was gradually rehabilitated over the next several years.
The airport was later renamed to Egal International Airport after the veteran politician Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal. Egal served as Somalia’s Prime Minister in the early 1960s during the country’s post-independence civilian administration, before later becoming the Somaliland’s second President after the late Abdirahman Tuur.
Ethiopian Airlines suspended its flight at Hargeysa Airport before five years for its security after suicide bombing in Hargeysa in October 2008, which was targeted at the Presidential Palace, Ethiopia’s Diplomatic relations Office in Hargeysa and the center of United Nations Development Program (UNDP), losing the lives of 28 people, while more than 30 other citizens were injured.