PEACE DIVIDEND UNFOLDS AS ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES LAUNCHES ASMARA FLIGHTS
(Posted 18th July 2018)
It has been more than 20 years since an Ethiopian Airlines flight last touched down in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. Hostilities among the erstwhile brothers unfolded over border demarcations and other issues and increasingly was Asmara cut off from international flights, leaving few connections to the outside world. Eritreans wanting to come home for visits were struggling flying hundreds of miles of detours instead of directly heading home, having to change planes in Khartoum or Cairo after even Qatar Airways halted their flights.
The detente between the two countries and the multiple visits to each others capital by the countries leaders has however swiftly paid off as Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest, today started a Boeing B737 service from Addis to Asmara, serving champagne on board to an enthusiastic sell out crowd of passengers.
ET0312 took just 80 minutes to land in Asmara to a tumultuous welcome from Eritreans.
Both countries have now also reopened their respective embassies paving the way for further improvement in relations.
Ethiopian Airlines is reportedly already looking at increasing their services from one daily flight – the inaugural was sold out in less than an hour after bookings opened – to several a day.