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Yemen’s Sanaa airport sees its first commercial flight in six years

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On May 16, 2022, the first commercial flight from Yemen’s Sanaa Airport (SAH) to Amman, Jordan (AMM) took off for the first time in six years.

Yemen Airways, commonly known as Yemenia, was the airline that flew the passengers. It carried 130 passengers, the majority of whom were patients requiring medical care in another country.

Since March 2015, when a no-fly zone was enforced across the nation as a result of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, civil flights have been grounded at Sanaa airport. From then on, the only planes to Sanaa were those operated by foreign countries to evacuate their citizens.

The aircraft to Amman on May 16 was part of a 60-day cease-fire brokered by the UN that the internationally recognized government and the Houthi rebels agreed to in early April 2022.

Except for the eastern Marib Governorate, the Houthis have controlled all of North Yemen since April 2020.

The UN and the Houthis agreed to operate two commercial flights a week between Sanaa and Jordan and Egypt as part of the cease-fire.

The first commercial flight out of Yemen was supposed to take place on April 24, 2022, however, it was postponed ‘indefinitely’ due to a disagreement over flying procedures before finally taking place on May 16, 2022.

“I would like to congratulate all Yemenis on this important and long-awaited step. I hope this provides some relief to the Yemenis who need to seek medical treatment abroad, pursue education and business opportunities, or reunite with loved ones,” the United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said in a statement.

“This should be a moment of coming together to do more, to start repairing what the war has broken, and to follow through on all the truce commitments to build trust and move towards resuming a political process to sustainably end the conflict.”

The first commercial flight out of Yemen was also praised by the US, which said in a statement that the country is “going through its calmest phase since the war began, and these flights are a vital step in further improving the lives and possibilities for the Yemeni people.”

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