Authorities Ban Flights over Renaissance Dam

ADDIS ABEBA – The government has banned flights over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) for the reason of economic security, a top aviation official said on Monday.

Shimels Kibreab, air navigation deputy director general at Ethiopian Civil Aviation, said that a huge national project such as GRED needs special protection from internal and external forces.

“Like many other countries that protect their mega projects with similar act, we’ve decided to prohibit any flight over the dam,” Shimelis told The Monitor.

He added no passenger or cargo planes will be permitted to fly over the dam, but special permission could be issued upon advance request.

The decision has already been communicated with governments of over 190 countries as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), according to aviation authorities.

The dam is being built about 15 km from the border with Sudan on Abay River, the source of 80% of the Nile’s waters. The construction of dam, which is expected to be the largest in Africa, has strained Ethiopia’s relations with Egypt.

Ethiopia considers the hydropower dam essential for its electrification and development as well as for its bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

By Mhret G/kristos