Yemeni government circumvents Houthi siege on Taiz by opening new airport

It will become a gateway for Yemenis in the city

Al Makha airport is close to the port of Hodeidah, through which most humanitarian aid to Yemen flows. Photo: Yemen News Agency
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A humanitarian charter flight landed at Yemen's new Al Makha airport on Thursday, a first step towards the full opening of the facility, authorities announced.

The plane landed on the airport's newly built runway. The project is in its first phase of development, with construction under way to open passenger halls for commercial flights.

Al Makha airport is in Taiz governorate, which is under Houthi siege, preventing people from receiving much needed aid.

Tareq Saleh, a member of Yemen's ruling Presidential Leadership Council, said the airport is a "new portal" for Yemenis to bypass the Houthi isolation of Taiz.

The UN and the Saudi-led coalition have been urging the Houthis to re-open the roads around Taez to allow the population to move freely and alleviate some of their suffering.

The airport is close to the port of Hodeidah, through which the majority of humanitarian aid flows to help millions of Yemenis.

"This is a strategic developmental project that will help both Taiz and Hodeidah as well as other surrounding areas," Alhassan Taher, the governor of Hodeidah, said on Thursday.

Yemen is in its eighth year of war since the Houthis took over the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Saudi-led coalition intervened a year later on behalf of the government.

A UN-brokered truce between the warring sides was not renewed in October after the Houthis refused to open the roads around Taiz and comply with agreements surrounding fuel imports through the port of Hodeidah.

Updated: November 25, 2022, 1:28 PM