Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has resumed scheduled flights to Mogadishu, Somalia after 41 years.
Ethiopian Bombardier Q400 aircraft departed Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 10:00 AM scheduled to arrive in Mogadishu at 11:30 AM. Mogadishu has become the 117th international destination for Ethiopian. The resumption of the Ethiopian flights to Somalia is believed to bolster political and economic ties between the two countries.
At the inauguration of the flight held at the VIP Saloon at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam noted that Ethiopian would offer seamless connections to Somalis to the rest of the world. Tewolde said that the situations did not allow Ethiopian to serve Somalia in the past 40 years. “Somalis have been suffering from bad air connectivity. They were forced to go through three or four points to reach their final destinations. Now Ethiopian will connect Mogadishu with its global network of 116 international destinations and resolve this challenge. This is good news for the large diaspora from Somalia residing in Europe and North America,” Tewolde said.
Ethiopian will be working with a local airline in Somalia, Juba Airlines, with a codeshare agreement. Tewolde said that passengers from Somalia can now travel to Europe, the US or Canada with a short layover time at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport or they can spend a day or two in Addis Ababa visiting friends and relatives and reconnect their flights. Tewolde acknowledged Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) for his effort to restore peace and bolster regional cooperation in the Horn of Africa.
According to Tewolde, when Ethiopian opened for booking, the flights were fully booked within a few days. “This shows that there is a big market and we will increase the flight frequency in due course,” he said. Ethiopian hopes to increase the thrice weekly flights to Mogadishu to daily shortly.
“We will transport Somalia’s export to Ethiopia and Europe. We will bring fish to Ethiopia and we will also transport other goods to Europe. Ethiopian will contribute its share in rebuilding Somalia’s economy,” he said.
Abdullahi Mohammed, deputy head of mission at the Somalia Embassy in Addis Ababa, noted that Somalis warmly welcome the resumption of Ethiopian Airlines flight to Mogadishu. “This would make travel between the two countries easy. I myself suffered to come to Addis Ababa. I used to spend four or five hours in Djibouti or Nairobi to come to Addis Ababa. Now with less than two hours we can directly come to Addis Ababa and this would not have been possible without the political leadership’s decision,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed requested executives of Ethiopian Airlines to continue assisting Somalis in connecting them with the rest of the world.
Mohammed told The Reporter that the Somali government has tightened airport security adding that there were no security threats at Mogadishu Airport. “I can guarantee you that the risk is zero. We have international airlines such as Turkish Airlines and Djibouti Airlines that fly to Mogadishu. Qatar Airways and Kenya Airways will soon start flights to Mogadishu. There is no problem with airport security,” he said. “As Ethiopian starts operation to Mogadishu more international airlines will be coming,” he added.
Ethiopian will soon launch flights to Manchester, Istanbul and Moscow.
Source: the reporter Ethiopia