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04DJIBOUTI1288 2004-10-06 13:20:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Djibouti
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E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) SUMMARY: As Djibouti does not yet have a program
under Safe Skies for Africa, Post endeavors to describe
what the civil aviation officials on the ground hope a
SSFA program could provide. Djibouti's airport is not
up to international standards as written by the ICAO,
however, according to Airport Director, David Hawker,
it is not far from standards. The most critical point
that needs to be addressed in order to be compliant is
the existence of national legislation regarding airport
standards. Djibouti's department of Civil Aviation
reportedly has a draft in the works. However, Hawker
hopes that the Government can be persuaded to adopt the
ICAO legislation as its own rather than attempting to
draft a new law from scratch. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) Ambouli International Airport is a single runway
airport located just outside the capital city of
Djibouti. The airport is flanked by the French Air
Force Base, the American military base home to the
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, and the Gulf
of Tadjourah. The airport presently can land, and does
land, planes as large as the C-5 Galaxy. Though the
airport can land planes suitable for mass-cargo shipping,
its air traffic is currently limited to mostly passenger

3. (U) Djibouti's air connections currently include
weekly flights from Paris on Daallo Airlines, Air France
and Ethiopian Airlines; flights to Addis Ababa three
times weekly on Ethiopian Airlines; flights three times
weekly to Dubai on both Djibouti Airlines and Daallo
Airlines; twice weekly connections to Nairobi on Kenyan
Airways; and British Airways services that connect to
Asmara and Nairobi. Djibouti Airlines also connects
regionally to Hargeisa and Dire Dawa. Its capacity to
handle cargo and freight shipping is currently minimal.

4. (U) Security screening equipment is limited to two
out of date belt-fed x-ray machines and two walk
through metal detectors to scan baggage and personal
goods. Security lighting is well within ICAO regulated
codes, thanks to a grant project by the French military.
Both the American and French military have improved the
exterior fencing around portions of the airport, but
several hundred kilometers more is still needed.
Fire-fighting equipment consists of one engine that can
no longer make the length of the runway in two minutes,
as required by safety regulations. According to Hawker,
there is no significant change since the last FAA
evaluation of the airport, improvements are already

5. (SBU) Security for the airport is provided by a
combination of National Police and Gendarme personnel.
This arrangement has proven to be less than efficient.
Overlapping and redundant responsibilities among the
security services, coupled with the lack of clear
legislation and detailed planning for airport security,
engenders confusion and creates serious vulnerabilities.
It is unclear as to which organization has the
responsibility and jurisdiction to provide emergency
response to critical situations. In addition, while
there is a controlled-access badge system in place,
there is a significant abuse of privilege and a resultant
lackadaisical attitude on behalf of the security
personnel. This deficiency presents a situation in
which sensitive areas of the airport are loosely
controlled and are easily penetrated by unauthorized
personnel either posing as important officials or
slipping past unwary sentries.

6. (U) The airport land and infrastructure is owned
by the Government of Djibouti but managed by Dubai
Ports International. The total budget of the airport
is provided by funds generated by incoming and
outgoing passenger and cargo traffic. Currently,
this traffic is barely enough to maintain existing
functions. Though there has been an increase in
passenger traffic due to economic development projects,
it is not yet enough to make the airport profitable.



7. (U) Djibouti currently does not meet international
regulations for fire fighting equipment. Though it
can land a plane as large as a C-5 Galaxy, it does
not have the equipment that would bring it up to
category nine fire-fighting standards. The one engine
the airport has is outdated and cannot get from one
end of the runway to the other in under two minutes,
as required by ICAO regulations.

8. (U) Djibouti's airport is not certified, and cannot
become certified until it has national legislation to
comply with. Hawker hopes that the Djiboutian Civil
Aviation Authority and the Government of Djibouti will
adopt the ICAO standards as its own. Hawker said that
in any case, the airport is working towards the ICAO
standards regardless of how the legislation issue goes.

9. (U) Hawker said the airport does not have an update
Instrument Landing System (ILS). It is currently trying
to procure a refurbished one from Talis Germany, but is
encountering problems from Talis France which requires
that Africa be serviced by Talis France. The problem,
Hawker said, with procuring the system from France is
that it does not sell older models and a new one is
far beyond the price range for the airport. Djibouti's
airport also does not have at present the means to
calibrate radio aides, and is currently waiting for
assistance from the French military.

NOTE: (SBU) Djibouti received an airport security
management course coordinated through the DS
Anti-Terrorism Assistance program in December 2002.
Although the course was effective and beneficial for
the Djiboutians that attended, it also pointed out
several deficiencies that include, but are not
limited to; the lack of legislation for airport
operations; the need for a government organization to
regulate the airport and bring it into compliance with
ICAO; the need for the development of a national civil
aviation plan, an airport security plan and an air
carrier operations plan; and the establishment of
crisis management and contingency plans to deal with
catastrophic events. Unless Djibouti can meet some of
these basic requirements no amount of physical security
will be adequate to deal with a crisis situation.



10. (U) DPI hopes the new traffic brought in by
economic development projects will bring greater
revenue from cargo shipment. With the new port at
Doraleh coming on-line next year, there have already
been requests for the airport to provide significant
amounts of equipment to handle trans-shipment through
the airport. Hawker said there are several Dubai
companies that are looking towards Djibouti's planned
Airport Free Zone as an option to expand their
over-extended offices in Dubai. The estimated target
for tons shipped through Djibouti's airport is 20,000
per year with routes going from Dubai to Central Africa.

11. (SBU) Hawker explained that airport has the
resources and funds ready to construct the Airport Free
Zone but has stalled in hopes of a new runway. He
explained that since the area between the airport and
the two camps - Camp Lemonier in particular - is so
small, the airport cannot expand and still have
sufficient area around it for regulations sake. Hawker
proposes that the American and French military could
easily take over the whole of Ambouli Airport if they
could construct a new runway for the airport. He
identified a small airstrip that the French military
uses close to the city that could "cost effectively be
expanded" and DPI would then put up the funding for a
new terminal. The airstrip identified is in a
convenient location to the new port and to the highway.
Hawker added that taking over the existing airport would
be beneficial in many ways to Camp Lemonier, particularly
in the issues of space and security. The target
completion date for the Airport Free Zone remains
this year.



12. (SBU) There is a general sentiment of impatience on
the issue of Safe Skies. Both Hawker and the Director of
Civil Aviation, Almis Haid, have expressed disappointment,
and slight displeasure, at what they describe as Embassy
requests for improvements needed for the past three years
running yet giving no definitive word on whether Djibouti
is in or out of the Safe Skies program. Hawker commented
that Haid had felt slighted after attending programming in
2003 as a potential participant because the Djiboutian
delegation was not included, in his opinion, to a
satisfactory degree. Hawker said that he hoped the
upcoming conference in Johannesburg will prove to be more



13. (SBU) Although immigration controls are currently
considered to be ponderous, unresponsive and prone to
mistake and abuse, a USG sponsored counter-terrorism
initiative (Terrorist Interdiction Program - PISCES)
is under way that will assist the Djiboutians in
bolstering their tracking and registration capabilities.
Upon completion of Phase-1 of the program, the
immigration service will be able to document and screen
potential terrorists using a network of computer systems
and bio-metrics. This system will have real time reports
generated that will be monitored by the Security
Services and Embassy personnel.

14. (SBU) Djibouti's security services have received
several training courses through DS/ATA that concentrate
on enhancing their counter-terrorism capabilities. In
addition to DS/ATA training, Djiboutian police officers
have begun training at the International La Enforcement
Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. Although ILEA
training is not geared towards countering terrorism, it
does concentrate on the professional development of
police managers. This sort of training will provide the
Djiboutians with managerial and organizational skills
that will translate into more effective and traditional
security operations.