Photographs taken on October 12, 2017 depict Ethiopian Airlines at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. (Xinhua / Michael Tewelde)
Ethiopian Airlines' Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian Airlines) launched a thirty-day direct passenger transport between Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and Somalia, Mogadishu, after 41 breaks, adding to the dynamics of growing bilateral economic ties.
Direct flights between Ethiopia and Somalia were suspended shortly after the outbreak of the 1977-78 Border War between the two countries.
The commencement of business flights between Ethiopia and Somalia also emerged in wider optimism in the Horn of Africa region and came after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a state visit to Somalia in June in an effort to strengthen political and economic ties between the two nations.
Bole Abdullah Mohammed Warf, a deputy embassy of the mission in Somalia in Ethiopia, said in an interview with the opening ceremony at Addis Ababa International Airport that a flight resumption would help bring the great Somali Diaspora together with her homeland.
"We would like to ask Ethiopia to continue to support and continue to connect our people in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia by linking them to other destinations in the world," Warfa said.
Warfa also said he had a personal reason to celebrate the resumption of direct flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, as the new flight route significantly shortens the time he had to endure to travel between the two cities.
"When I came to Addis Ababa from Mogadishu, I traveled through Nairobi or the Djibouti city, or in other places where I came to Addis Ababa," he said.
"It took four to five hours for Adisy Abbey, but it was easy now and in less than two hours I will, thanks, Ethiopian Airlines."
Warf's optimism was shared by Alis Ad Mohammed, the Deputy Chairman of the Somali Community of Ethiopia, who said he hoped that freight flights would be added soon, complementing already-launched passenger flights.
"This flight will further deepen the connection between the Ethiopians and the Somalis, I hope that in the next step ET will begin freight flights at the top of personal flights," Mohamed said.
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam has highlighted the historic nature of the resumption of flights between Addis Ababa-Mogadishu and its possible economic benefits.
"Today is a big day to restore a direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu after 40 years, today is a historic day." Business, investment and tourism relations between Ethiopia and Somalia have been questioned by the lack of adequate air links, "he said.
"The renewal of air services will support the promotion of tourism, trade relations and investment between Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as promoting cross-border investment and people-to-people relations," he added.
GebreMariam told Xinhua that Ethiopian Airlines is also planning to begin cargo flights to Mogadishu to facilitate Somalia's exports to the rest of the world, especially to China.
"We have seen exports of marine food from Madagascar and Comoros through our international airport in Addis Ababa to China strengthen their economies. Somalia will soon join Somalia," he added.
Ethiopian airlines began freight transport from Norwegian capital Oslo to Guangzhou in southern China in October and transported Norwegian seafood twice a week to Chinese customers.