Back

Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights to Asmara on July 18

(EBC; July 10, 2018) - Ethiopian Airlines said on Tuesday it would resume flights to Eritrea’s capital Asmara on July 18 for the first time in 20 years. In a historic deal on Monday, the two countries agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights.

“With the opening of a new chapter of peace and friendship between the two sisterly countries, we look forward to starting flights to Asmara with the B787,” the firm’s Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam said.

Monday’s announcement formally ended one of Africa’s most intractable military stand-offs, a conflict that has destabilised the region and seen both governments funnel large parts of their budgets into security and soldiers.

The 1998-2000 border war killed an estimated 80,000 people. Tens of thousands were also deported, splitting groups that shared bloodlines.

The rapprochement followed a visit to Asmara by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who embraced Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on the airport runway.

Thousands of Eritreans came onto the streets to cheer them and the two men danced side by side to traditional music from both countries at a dinner that evening.

The deal signed between them on Monday also includes a resumption of phone connections.

Ethio Telecom sent text messages to its subscribers late on Monday, announcing “with happiness” the restoration of phone links.