BERBERA (Somalilandsun) – Travelers to the country will see an ease of movement following the resumption of Ethiopian airline flights.
A Bombardier Q400 plane operated by Ethiopian airline that broke the three years landed at Berbera airport in the afternoon was witnessed by a multitude of glad Somalilanders led by the minister of Aviation Hon Mahmoud Hashi who hailed the regional airliner’s management and Ethiopian government officials for resuming the local flights.
Other notables at Berbera international to witness and welcome the Ethiopian airline back to Somaliland included the Deputy Ethiopian Airlines general Manager to the country, minister of Commerce and Industry Hon Abdirazak Khalif Ahmed, as well as Sahil regional government officials.
According to the minister of aviation the resumption of Ethiopian airlines flights to the country came after lengthily negotiations between his ministry and the airline that stop plying the Hargeisa route 3 years ago following a bomb attack by suspected Al-Shabaab operatives.
Hon Mahmoud Hashi also stressed on the importance of the Ethiopian flights terming the airliner as a facilitator of enhanced commercial and diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring and friendly countries, said he, “The resumption of air links between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa, in addition to strengthening the trade and people- to-people ties, will enable international travelers from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas a much more convenient and easy access to Somalia”.
The attack by Al-shabaab on the 28th October 2008 saw simultaneous explosions by suicide bombers occur at the Ethiopian airline and UNDP offices as well as the presidency in Hargeisa. 23 people staffers at the three offices lost their lives while 30 others sustained serious injuries.
The minister of Commerce and industry Hon Abdirazak Khalif Ahmed said that the airliner has resumed its operations at a very appropriate time as a large number of Somalilanders in the Diaspora are about to embark on their annual summer holidays, Said he, “The Ethiopian airlines will ease recent difficulties in flight connections to the country”
The Deputy Ethiopian Airlines general Manager to the country said that the his government in Addis Ababa has strongly supported the return of the airliner to the Hargeisa – Addis Ababa route that was ceased following the heinous events of the 28th October 2008 that saw a number of clients lose their lives at the airlines Hargeisa offices.
The announcement of flight resumption that was made by Ethiopian airline in Addis Ababa mid last month was received warmly not only by the Somaliland government and citizens but regular Travellers to the country, as Since, the suspension of flights to Hargeisa in November 2008, travelers between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa have been using bus services operating from Addis Ababa to Jigjiga and from Jigjiga to Hargeisa.
The Ethiopian Airlines flights resumption announcement said, “The fastest growing airline in Africa is pleased to announce the start of new flights to Berbera, the port city of Somaliland, as of July 1, 2012. Ethiopian will fly to Berbera daily using its Q400 aircraft, with three morning and four afternoon flights”.
The flights to Berbera has been occasioned by the ongoing construction work at Hargeisa’s Egal international airport which allow only small crafts thus the diversion of bigger crafts like the one operated by Ethiopian airlines to Berbera international airport.
Ethiopian’s addition of Berbera to its network will bring its international destinations in Africa to 43, excluding its 17 domestic points, thus further solidifying Ethiopian’s position as the airline that provides the most convenient connection to and from Africa.