The photo taken on October 12, 2017 shows Ethiopian Airlines airplane Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. (Xinhua / Michael Tewelde)
Addis Ababa and Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after a 41-year-long break, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has launched three weekly weekly cruise flights, boosting the pace of bilateral economic ties.
Direct flights between Ethiopia and Somalia were suspended shortly after the border war between two nations expired in 1977-78.
The launch of commercial flights between Ethiopia and Somalia was also due to wider optimism in the Horn of Africa and came after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid a state visit to Somalia in June in an effort to strengthen political and economic ties with the two nations.
Speaking after the inauguration of the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Abdullahi Mohammed Warfa, Somalia, Deputy Head of the Embassy of Ethiopian Embassy, said that resuming flight would help connect the big Somali diaspora home country.
"We want to ask Ethiopia to continue supporting on the other hand and to continue our contacts with people in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia who associate them with other destinations in the world," said Warfa.
Warfa also said that he had a personal reason to celebrate the resumption of direct flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, as the new route recognition significantly reduces the time he had to endure to travel between the two cities.
"When I came to Addis Abeba from Mogadishu, I went through Nairobi or Djibouti to the city or other places that came to Addis Ababa," he said.
"Addis Ababa had spent 4-5 hours, but now it was easy and I will go under two hours, thank you, Ethiopian Airlines."
Warfan's optimism was shared with Ali Adem Mohammed, vice-president of Ethiopian Somalia. He hoped that freight flights would soon be added and supplemented by already on-going passenger voyages.
"This flight will further deepen ties between Ethiopia and Somalia, and I hope that the next stage will be to launch cargo flights in addition to passengers' flights," Mohammed said.
Tewolde GebreMariam, Managing Director of Ethiopian Airlines Group, emphasized the reopening of the flights in Addis Ababa and Mogadishu and its possible economic benefits.
"Today is a great day to start a direct flight between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu in 40 years, and this is a historic day. The trade, investment and tourism links between Ethiopia and Somalia are challenging without sufficient air traffic," he said. .
"The promotion of aviation services would promote tourism, trade relations and investment between Ethiopia and Somalia, and would promote cross-border investment and people-to-people relations," he continued.
GebreMariam told Xinhua that Ethiopian Airlines is also planning to launch freight transport to Mogadishu, with a view to facilitating Somali shipping to the rest of the world, especially to China.
"We have seen how the sea food exports from Madagascar and the Comoros to our Addis Ababa International Airport to China has increased our economy, Somalia soon joins this system," he added.
In October, Ethiopian Airlines launched cargo freight in Guangzhou, southern China, in the capital of Norway, which carries twice a week Norwegian marine products to Chinese customers.