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First commercial flight in six years takes off from Yemen’s Sanaa

COMMERCIAL flights resumed in the Yemeni capital Sana’a for the first time in nearly six years today with the move welcomed as a stepping stone towards sustainable peace.

The international airport previously hosted as many as 6,000 passengers a day, and more than two million passengers every year, but had closed as a result of the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

A fragile truce has been in place since the holy month of Ramadan, although Houthi forces have accused Riyadh of hundreds of breaches since it came into effect, including the continued bombing of civilian areas. 

The peace deal allows for the entry of fuel ships into the port of Hudaydah which had been held under siege by the Saudi-led coalition along with two commercial flights a week to and from Sana’a airport.

It will enable humanitarian aid to enter Yemen with aid organisations saying that some 23.4 million people require assistance this year as a result of the war. 

Spokeswoman for the Norwegian Refugee Council Erin Hutchinson welcomed the long overdue reopening of the airport saying it was “a stepping stone towards a lasting peace for Yemen.”

“If the parties to the conflict continue to work together to operate regular flights in and out of Sana’a, they can help save thousands of lives, prevent premature deaths, and support the country’s economy,” she said. 

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