US FAA has issued a new warning of Kenya’s airspace attacks by Al-Shabaab. US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) warning comes at a time the industry is still reeling from the effects of Covid-19.
The Al-Shabaab group is still believed to be in possession of weapons that could hit aircraft at low altitudes. Altitudes of up to 25,000 feet through north eastern Kenya and Somalia are vulnerable to attacks risking arrival and departure phases.
The FAA warning has included routes connecting countries like India, China and Dubai (UAE). Planes using the northeastern route overpass eastern Kenya counties such as Garissa and exit in to Somalia.
An aviation consultant who spoke to Hello News anonymously said that the Kesom (FIR) to Mogdu (FIR) is a shorter and direct route. For this reason Airlines plying the route to Far Eastern countries prefer it though they have other alternative routes.
The alternate to this route is Nairobi (FIR), Addis (FIR) and Djibouti (FIR) which is longer and consumes more fuel. Fuel saving is a standard practice in the aviation industries which explains why airlines prefer shorter routes.
Initially, Al-Shabaab was active within Somalia but in the recent years they have shown capability on attacking Kenyan forces. Also in their target are western interests within Kenya including joint civil-military airfields within the coastal strip bordering Somalia.
The FAA advisory said that the January 5, 2020, complex attack on Camp Simba demonstrated the group’s intent and capabilities. In Somalia, the Al-Shabaab has conducted several raids targeting civil aviation including indirect fire attacks on Aden Adde International Airport.
The US believes that Al-Shabaab possess or has access to, rockets and anti-aircraft-capable weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
According to FAA, Al-Shabaab will likely target western crafts considering the prosecution of Kenyan Cholo Abdi Abdullah in December 2020.
Abdi was charged by US justice department with six counts of terrorism-related offences from his actions within Al-Shabaab.
Managers, who spoke to Hello News on condition of anonymity, said they were evaluating the advisory and its impact.