Exclusive: Yemenia to resume flights to Arabian Gulf and Africa as it plans comeback

Airline to restart flights to UAE, seek traffic rights to African capitals and target Asia-Pacific routes

Security stands guard as passengers disembark in August 2015. Yemenia is seeking to resume flights to the Arabian Gulf and Africa. AFP
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Yemen's national airline plans to resume commercial flights to the Arabian Gulf and African cities while eyeing long-haul routes to Asia as it gradually rebuilds its network shrunk by a three-year conflict.

Yemenia, based out of Aden, has secured traffic rights to resume services to Dubai and Abu Dhabi "soon", and is working to obtain permits to fly to Muscat and Salalah in Oman, Asif Hussain, Yemenia duty manager for Dubai Airports, told The National on Wednesday. In Africa, it plans a return to Eritrean capital Asmara, Comoros capital Moroni and Djibouti.

"Business is getting better," Mr Hussain said. "The plan is first to open all the destinations that we suspended then we may look into new routes." The ongoing three-year conflict in Yemen has damaged the country's aviation infrastructure.

Yemenia currently serves nine destinations - including Cairo, Amman, Riyadh, Jeddah and Mumbai - with a curtailed fleet of five Airbus A320 and A310 narrow-body.


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Yemenia received delivery of an A320 Neo this week, which it aims to position for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and expects to receive two additional A320 by 2020, Mr Hussain said.

"We have a small fleet but we're increasing it," he said. "Daily we are seeing more and more passengers on our flights."

The airline, which has flown more than 10,000 passengers so far this year, has ambitions to resume long-haul operations to Asian cities such as Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur in "future" and will talk to aircraft lessors for an A330 wide-body, he said.

"Yemenia is going to come back and we will get all our passengers back," he said.