First Ethiopian Airlines commercial flight ET0312, in two decades, landed in Asmara to a warm welcome from the residents of the city.
Ethiopian Airlines commercial flight number ET0312 landed today in Asmara, capital of Eritrea, for the first time in more than twenty years.
The Boeing 787 carried 456 passengers drawn from celebrities, Ethiopia’s public diplomacy team, businessmen and Eritreans who remained in Ethiopia following the outbreak of war between the two countries.
Ethiopia’s former prime minister Hailemariam Desalgne was on board and was received by Eritrea’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Osman Saleh, upon arrival at Asmara International Airport. Hundreds of Eritreans were also at the airport waiving Eritrean and Ethiopian government flags.
Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation(EBC) cited a passenger who named the flight as “the first flight in the 21st century” – a remark which is meant to indicate the length of time the two countries were in conflict.
Ethiopian Airlines is planning to fly to Asmara daily which is believed to benefit Eritreans in the diaspora by way of making connections to Eritrea from 114 Ethiopian Airlines destinations across the world. The service is anticipated to cut down flight times for travelers from many locations across the world as wait time during transit in Addis Ababa is expected to be only a few hours.
The Ethiopian Airlines has also plans to engage in tour operation to the Massawa which is known for its beaches and ticket is already on sale, according to CEO Tewolde Gebremariam. The inflow of tourists to the port city of Massawa is expected to benefit Eritrean economy. Many Ethiopians express plans to visit Eritrea and Massawa is prone to be a popular destination for Ethiopians.
Commencement of flight to Eritrea is an indication that agreement for economic cooperation between the two countries has entered a phase of implementation.
Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to cooperate in political, diplomatic, economic, security and cultural areas after the leaders of the two countries met first in Eritrea and later in Ethiopia.
Peace between the two countries was achieved without a mediation from a third party although it happened two decades after the conflict happened.
Eritrean president told Ethiopians at a concert which was organized for his honor at the Millennium Hall that he ” will not allow those intend to disrupt the love” between Ethiopia and Eritrea.