Ethiopian Airlines will resume flights to Mogadishu in 40 years next month, the airline has said barely three months since it relaunched its flights to Eritrea.
The airline which has been billed as the most profitable in the continent released its schedule for Addis Ababa-Mogadishu Tuesday with the first flights set to start November 2.
“The flights will play a significant role in strengthening the people-to-people and economic ties between the two neighborly and sisterly countries,” Ethiopia Airlines Group CEO told the local media.
With over 116 global destinations, Ethiopian Airlines is expected to tap into the Somali diaspora many of whom use the Turkish Airlines or connect flights from Nairobi or Dubai. The 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.
The resumption of flights between Mogadishu and Asmara in Eritrea follows the thawing of diplomatic relations among the Horn of African nation which had for a long time remained frozen.
With the direct flights, Ethiopia is likely to access the larger Somali market for its products including khat which is normally exported to neighboring Somaliland. This could eat into the Kenyan share of the khat market in Somalia.
Somalia also stands to benefit from a huge Ethiopian market with a population of close to 100 million. This could include export of fish products to the landlocked country in addition to other agricultural products such as lime and bananas which have traditionally been destined for the Gulf nations.