Ethiopian Airlines is making its first regular passenger flight to neighboring Eritrea for the first time in two decades, opening investments between the former enemies now turned allies.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight left the capital, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday morning, heading for Asmara, Eritrea’s capital. The airline said it will fly to Eritrea daily.
Three-hundred and fifteen passengers aboard a Boeing 787 and a 737 with 154 passengers took off under rainy skies and were due to land in Eritrea’s capital Asmara about one hour and 25 minutes later.
The airline’s resumption of it flights to Eritrea is part of reforms by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who took office in April.
Abiy visited Asmara earlier this month and met President Isias Afwerki, making a declaration of peace and agreed to restring diplomatic ties by opening their embassies in each other’s capital. Isias also visited Addis Ababa last week.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have been at odds since a 1998-2000 border war that left more than 10,000 people dead.
The airline – which operates Africa’s biggest fleet – now stands to save millions of dollars a year by using Eritrean airspace instead of taking circuitous routes to some Middle Eastern destinations, its chief executive, Tewolde Gebremariam, told Reuters.