Ethiopian Airlines begin flights to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu

After the diplomatic breakthroughs sweeping through the whole of Africa region, Ethiopian Airlines announced on Tuesday that it will begin regular flights to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Nov. 2, which will be its first in about four decades.

“Our flights will quickly grow to multiple daily flights given the huge volume of traffic between the two sisterly countries and the significant traffic between Somalia and the rest of the world,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive, said in a statement.

One of the biggest carriers in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines suspended its operations in Somalia following the outbreak of hostilities between the neighbours in the late 1970s. Since then, Turkish Airlines is the only other major international carrier that flies to the country.

Conflict in Somalia which erupted in subsequent decades and continues to the present day has prevented air carriers from returning. An Islamist militant group has been waging an insurgency in Somalia since 2007.

In June, Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights to the Eritrean capital Asmara after a two-decade hiatus following a dramatic diplomatic thaw between the feuding neighbours.

The state-owned carrier is Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit, according to an industry body, generating $2.7 billion in revenue in the 2017/18 fiscal year.

Since 2013, Ethiopian Airlines has acquired minority stakes in several African carriers to serve as bases for regional operations, including in Malawi Airlines and Zambia’s national airline.

The firm also aims to create a new airline in Mozambique that it will fully own, and is in talks with Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea to set up carriers through joint ventures.