Photo taken on October 12, 2017. Shows the Ethiopian Airlines airplane at Bole airport in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. (Xinhua / Michael Tewelde)
ADDIS ABABA, 10 November (Xinhua) – Ethiopian airlines Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia) have started three weekly direct passenger flights between the capital of Ethiopia Addis Abeba and the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, after 41 years break, adding momentum to growing bilateral economic ties.
Direct flights between Ethiopia and Somalia were suspended shortly after the border war between the two nations between 1977 and 1978.
The launch of commercial flights between Ethiopia and Somalia also emerged in the face of greater optimism in the Horn of Africa region and came after the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, paid a June visit to Somalia to stimulate political and economic ties between the two countries. nations.
Speaking at the inauguration of the flight at Addis Abeba Bole international airport, Abdullahi Mohammed Warfa, the deputy ambassador of the Mission in Somalia, Ethiopia, said the resumption of the flight would help to connect the large Somali diaspora with the homeland.
"We want to ask Ethiopia to continue to support on one side and still connect our people who are in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia, connecting them with other places in the world," Warfa said.
Warfa also said he has a personal reason to celebrate the resumption of direct flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadisu, because the new flight route significantly reduces the air time that he had to endure to travel between the two cities.
"When I came to Addis Ababa from Mogadishu, I traveled through the city of Nairobi or Djibouti or other places to come to Addis Ababa," he said.
"It took four to five hours to arrive in Addis Ababa, but now it has become easy, and I will be leaving in less than two hours, thank you, Ethiopian Airlines."
Warfy's optimism was shared by Ali Adem Mohammed, deputy chairman of the Somalia community in Ethiopia, who said he hopes cargo flights will be added soon, complementing the already launched passenger flights.
"This flight will further deepen the bond between Ethiopia and Somalis, and I hope that in the next step ET will start cargo flights at the top of passenger flights," said Mohammed.
The CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines Group, Tewolde Gebre Marariam, stressed the historic nature of the resumption of flights between Addis Ababa-Mogadishu and potential economic benefits.
"Today is a great day to resume a direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu after 40 years, today is a historic day, and trade, investment and tourist ties between Ethiopia and Somalia have been questioned by the lack of adequate air communications," he said.
"The restoration of air services will promote the promotion of tourism, trade relations and investment between Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as promote cross-border investments and interpersonal relations," he said.
GebreMariam told Xinhua that Ethiopian Airlines is also planning to launch cargo flights to Mogadishu, with the aim of facilitating the export of Somalia seafood to the rest of the world, in particular to China.
"We have seen that exporting seafood from Madagascar and Comoros via our international airport in Addis Ababa to China has increased their economy, Somalia will soon join this program," he said.
Already in October, Ethiopian Airlines launched a freighter from the Norwegian capital of Oslo to Guangzhou in southern China, carrying Norwegian food products from the sea twice a week to Chinese customers.