Egypt's Alexandria Airlines cleared for flights to southern Yemen

Private operator will provide regular services between Cairo and Yemeni cities of Aden and Sayoun

A picture taken on August 9, 2018 during a trip in Yemen organised by the UAE's National Media Council (NMC) shows a view of a plane on the tarmac at Aden International Airport in the country's second city, under control by the Saudi and UAE-backed government. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)
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Egypt’s Alexandria Airlines will to start flights between Cairo and southern Yemen this week, increasing international travel options from the government-controlled part of the country.

The privately owned airline will fly to Aden and the city of Sayoun in Hadramawt province, Amer Anwar, director general of air transport in the Yemen Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority, told The National.

“The Egyptian airline will start its international flights from the Egyptian capital Cairo to the government-held Yemeni airports in Aden and Hadramawt on October 6, as the company fulfilled all the procedures and the requirements according to Yemeni civil aviation laws," Mr Amer said.

Commercial air services in Yemen have been limited since the closure of airports in 2015 because of the country's civil war that broke out after Iran-backed Houthi rebels drove the government from the capital Sanaa in late 2014 and seized large areas of northern Yemen which they still control.

“Alexandria Airlines is the second international carrier to launch flights from and to our airports after Air Djibouti, which relaunched its flights from Djibouti to Aden in March 2018 alongside the Yemeni national airline [Al Yemenia] and two other privately owned Yemeni airlines,” Mr Amer said, referring to Felix Airways and Queen Bilqis Airways.

“The first flight by Alexandria Airlines will depart from Cairo airport on Tuesday at 6am and is scheduled to land at Aden Airport at 11.10am," said Sami Al Katheeri, office manager at Al Alamia travel agency in Aden, the agent for the airline in the southern port city.

“Alexandria Airways will operate regular flights to Aden and Hadramawt. In October the company will start with two flights weekly to Aden, on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and two flights to Sayoun, on Mondays and Thursdays," Mr Al Katheeri said

“From November, the company will launch daily flights to Aden," he said.

Aden’s international airport suffered extensive damage in the Houthi assault on the city in March 2015. Humanitarian flights were restored two days after UAE-backed government forces liberated the city in July, but commercial flights resumed only in November 2017 after the UAE repaired the control tower and terminal building.

The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Programme for Yemen launched a project this year to upgrade Aden airport, with the first phase  starting in January.