After 6 Years, Commercial Flight Takes Off From Sanaa Airport
A commercial flight took off from Sanaa’s international airport in Yemen for the first time in six years. The Yemenia airlines flight bound for Amman, which was carrying 126 passengers and took off on Monday morning, included hospital patients that required treatment abroad. Sanaa is held by the Houthi rebels. Flights between Sanaa and Amman in Jordan, and between Sanaa and Cairo in Egypt were agreed upon by all sides under the current two-month truce which began on April 2 between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition supporting the internationally recognized government of Yemen.
Before take-off, the plane taxied through an honor guard made up of two fire trucks spraying jets of water.
Sanaa’s airport has been closed to commercial traffic since August 2016, mainly due to airstrike by the Saudi coalition. The Sanaa airport previously hosted as many as 6,000 passengers a day, and more than 2 million passengers every year. With the closure of the airport, many people lost their jobs and companies and suppliers providing services to the airport closed down or suffered economic losses.
“The long overdue reopening of the airport was one of the major objectives of the truce. If the parties to the conflict continue to work together to operate regular flights in and out of Sana’a, they can help save thousands of lives, prevent premature deaths, and support the country’s economy. Yemenis will enjoy greater freedom of movement, and it will be quicker, easier, and cheaper to bring goods and aid into the country,” Erin Hutchinson, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Yemen, said in a statement.