Ethiopian Airline plans to resume flights to Eritrea for the first time after two decades

Ethiopian Airline today announced that it would resume flight to the capital of Eritrea Asmara. This comes after both countries yesterday signed an agreement to end a 20-year war. Both countries on Monday in a historic deal agreed among other things to reopen embassies, develop ports and resume flights in both countries.

“With the opening of a new chapter of peace and friendship between the two sisterly countries, we look forward to starting flights to Asmara with the B787,” Ethiopian Airline’s Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam said.

It would be recalled that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in June announced that  the country would fully implement the Algiers Agreement signed in 2000 to formally end a two-year war between the neighbors that killed about 100,000 people. This deal was never enacted by the former prime minister due to the ownership of the disputed border town of Badme. Following this announcement by Abiy, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki who has been in power since 1993 when the Red Sea state seceded from landlocked Ethiopia, sent a high-level Eritrean delegation to Ethiopia for talks on ending the decades-long conflict between both countries.

The just ended conflict has been described as one of Africa’s most intractable military standoffs. The conflict which destabilized the region saw both governments funnel large parts of their budgets into security and soldiers. The border war which happened between 1998 and 2000 killed about 80000 while tens of thousands were also deported and separated from their families.

This peace deal also saw Ethiopia’s state-run telecoms monopoly Ethio Telecom send text messages to its subscribers late on Monday, announcing “with happiness” the restoration of phone links.

According to Bloomberg also the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. also reported that Ethiopia’s national airline will take a 20 percent stake in Eritrean Airlines.