The Berbera airport has a 4,140 m (13,582 ft) runway, one of the longest on the continent. The runway was built by the Soviet Union (USSR) in the mid-1970s in order to counter the United States' military presence in the region. It was rented by NASA at a cost of $40 million USD per year, and used as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle from 1980 until 1991, when the government of former President of Somalia Siad Barre collapsed.
In 2012, the Somaliland region's Ministry of Civil Aviation contracted the Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc (TACON) to build a new terminal and perimeter fence at the Berbera airport. The Grade 1 firm had previously constructed various buildings in Ethiopia, including the Oromia region president's office, the Yayu fertilizer factory, Jimma University, Mekelle University and Gambella Region Technical and Vocational Training College. A joint venture with the Afro-Sino Contracting and Investment Company, the project's design was conceived by the International Consultants Technocrats and Marco Construction firms. It cost 83 million Ethiopian birr in total, 3 million birr of which was earmarked for TACON. In March 2015, President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud officially inaugurated the new airport terminal and fence, with officials from Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen in attendance. The terminal was constructed on a 3,200 sqm land-plot and has various facilities, including public address and communication equipment, baggage transfer and checkpoints, security checks, a water tanker, 200 kg capacity scales, and an asphalt road leading toward the runway. The airport fence is also 12 kilometres in length.