The Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport and Travel Visa

Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport and Travel Visa: On 18 February 2018, the government of Djibouti introduced an eVisa system for foreign visitors intended to replace the visa on arrival system. Visitors can apply for a transit visa valid for 3 days or a single entry visit visa valid for 31 days. eVisas are issued only for tourism or commerce purposes. Holders of eVisas can only enter Djibouti through Ambouli International Airport.


History of Ambouli International Airport

The airport was opened in 1948. Originally modest-sized, the facility grew in the post-independence period after a series of renovation projects.

In the mid-1970s, the airport was enlarged to accommodate more international carriers, with the state-owned Air Djibouti providing regular trips to its various destinations

Ambouli International Airport Civilian use

Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport has a single terminal building, with one departure gate and one baggage carousel.

As the airport is located south of Djibouti City and its runways run east–west, an airliner's landing approach is usually directly over the conurbation of the capital, when the wind is from the west.

Ambouli International Airport Military use

In addition to its use as a civilian airport, the airport hosts a military presence from a number of countries. Military traffic makes up approximately 75% of the airport's total traffic volume.

Air-traffic controllers controversy

According to military officials, US military flights comprised over 50 percent of the 30,000 departures and arrivals in 2014. Civilian air-traffic controllers hired by the Djiboutian government monitor the airspace over Camp Lemonnier's runways, unlike other major US military bases. US consultants stationed at the base reported that over a three-month period, the controllers made an average of 2,378 errors per 100,000 aircraft operations, an error rate reportedly 1,700 times greater than the US standard. US federal aviation experts suggested that an unprofessional attitude on the part of the controllers potentially imperiled American military and civilian flights to and from the airport. FAA officials asserted that the controllers' lax attitude, which allegedly included barring drones from taking off or landing, stemmed from a belief on their part that the US drones were unreliable aircraft and dangerous weapons aimed at killing Muslims.

The Djibouti government dismissed the air controller safety allegations as exaggerations or fabrications. US Ambassador to Djibouti Tom Kelly likewise indicated that, after asking for further improvements in aviation, progress was being registered at the airport. U.S. Navy Captain Kevin Bertelsen, the commanding officer at Camp Lemonnier, described work at the air base as challenging, but similarly indicated that conditions there had been ameliorated. In 2014, the US government also signed a new twenty-year lease with the Djibouti authorities to maintain its military base at the airport.

Ambouli International Airport, Airlines and destinations
  • Air Djibouti:
    • Addis Ababa, Aden, Dire Dawa, Hargeisa, Mogadishu
  • Air France
    • Paris–Charles de Gaulle
  • Ethiopian Airlines
    • Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa
  • flydubai
    • Dubai–International
  • Felix Airways
    • Aden
  • Jubba Airways
    • Bosaso, Hargeisa, Jeddah
  • Kenya Airways
    • Addis Ababa, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
  • Qatar Airways
    • Doha, Mogadishu
  • Turkish Airlines
    • Istanbul, Mogadishu

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