The photo taken on October 12, 2017 is an Ethiopian aircraft at the Ball International Airport in Assisi Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. (Xinhua / Michael Tewelde)
Ethiopian Airlines (ET) opened an interstate direct route between Ethiopian capital Adis Ababa and Mogadishu three times in 41 years to strengthen bilateral economic ties.
Direct flights between Ethiopia and Somalia ceased as soon as the border war broke out between the two countries in 1977-78.
Commercial flights between Ethiopia and Somalia showed broader optimism in the Horn of Africa region and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to Somalia in June to strengthen political and economic ties between the two cities. nations.
Abdullahi Mohammed Warfa Deputy Director of the Embassy of Somalia in Ethiopia said in a speech at the inauguration ceremony at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport that it would help connect the Somali Diaspora with the homeland.
"We want to ask that Ethiopia continue to support connecting other people in Mogadishu and Somalia with other destinations around the world," said Wafa.
Warfa also said there is a personal reason to celebrate the resumption of direct flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, as the new route significantly reduces the waiting time that had to endure to travel between the two cities.
"When I came to Addis Ababa in Mogadishu, I came to Addis Ababa through Nairobi or Djibouti or elsewhere," he said.
"It took four to five hours to get to Addis Ababa, but it is now easier, it will take less than two hours to Ethiopia."
Warfa's optimistic outlook was shared by Ali Adem Mohammed, vice-president of the Somali community in Ethiopia. He said he hopes to add cargo flights soon to complement the already landing airliner.
"This plane will further deepen the bond between Ethiopia and Somalia, and next step, we expect the ET to begin cargo flight on top of the passenger plane," Mohammed said.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam highlighted the historic nature of the resumption of flight between Addis Ababa-Mogadishu and potential economic interests.
Trade, investment and tourism links between Ethiopia and Somalia have been hampered by the lack of adequate air links. "Today is a good day to resume direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu after 40 years. .
"The resumption of aviation services will promote tourism, trade and investment between Ethiopia and Somalia, and will promote cross-border investment and human-to-human relations," he added.
GebreMariam told Xinhua that Ethiopian Airlines plans to launch a cargo flight to Mogadishu to facilitate export of Somali seafood to China, particularly China.
"We will join this plan soon," he said, adding that sea food exports such as Madagascar and Comoros through our Addis Ababa International Airport have boosted China's economy.
Already in October the Ethiopian airline launched a freight service from Oslo, the Norwegian capital, to Guangzhou, southern China, and transported Norwegian seafood twice a week to Chinese customers.