After a two-year absence, Ethiopian Airlines is preparing to resume regular flights to the Tigray region.
Following a peace accord signed in South Africa on November 3, halting hostilities between ethno-regional militias of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Ethiopian federal government, and the Eritrean military.
Chief Executive Officer Mesfin Tasew said the resumption of flights would help speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid to the region.
He said Mekelle and Indaselassie airports are in a fit condition to accommodate flights, but Axum airport has been severely damaged in the conflict.
Ethiopian Airlines will send its experts to assess the damage and repair the airport. In addition, the airline is also working to resume flights to other airports near the conflict zone.
“There will be a need for passenger and cargo services in connection with humanitarian aid delivery. Various foreign humanitarian organisations are expected to provide humanitarian aid, and we are prepared to provide these services,” he said.
Ethiopian Airlines used to fly daily to the region before the conflict erupted on November 3, 2020.
Under the terms of the peace treaty signed in South Africa after ten days of negotiations under the auspices of the African Union, the government of Ethiopia and the TPLF agreed to a “permanent cessation of hostilities” to end the Tigray War.
Primarily a conflict between the Ethiopian government and Eritrea on one side, and the TPLF on the other, the war was marked by war crimes, massacres of civilians, accusations of genocide, and a humanitarian crisis. Following the collapse of a March-August 2022 cease-fire, violence surged to new levels resulting in the death of 100,000 people and the displacement of half a million others.