Ethiopian Airlines to resume flights to rebel-held Tigray capital

Ethiopian Airlines plane. [AP Photo]

Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday announced the decision to resume its flights to Mekele, the rebel-held capital of the country's Tigray region.

"Ethiopian Airlines is pleased to announce the resumption of its flights to Mekele starting from Wednesday," Ethiopia's flag carrier said in a statement.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said the resumption of flights will enable families to reunite, facilitate the restoration of commercial activities, stimulate tourist flow, and bring many more opportunities which will serve society.

"We are ready to serve our passengers who are travelling on the route between Addis Ababa and Mekele and play our part in the socioeconomic development of our country," Tasew said.

With planned daily flights to Mekele, the airline said it will increase the daily frequency depending on the demand for the route.

The resumption of the flights came after a delegation of Ethiopian federal government officials on Monday headed to Mekele for the first time since the conflict erupted in November 2020.

The latest developments came after a permanent cessation of hostilities agreement signed on November 2 between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which now controls the northernmost region. The deal also includes restoring law and order, restoring services, and unhindered access to humanitarian supplies.

Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation, has seen a devastating conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the TPLF for the past two years, which left thousands dead and millions more in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.