Yemen .. Ceasefire flights from Sanaa Airport are not for everyone

Despite the announcement of the opening of Sana’a Airport in the Yemeni capital, with two flights a week, travel from the capital is not yet available to everyone, in light of the coincidence and nepotism that controls people’s access to travel tickets, except excessive. official prices, and the sale of cards on the black market, while most of those in need of travel are ill.

For the first time in six years, the first commercial flight took off from Sanaa Airport on May 16 to the Jordanian capital, Amman, based on the UN ceasefire agreement between the Yemeni parties that began on April 2, for a period of two monthly. and was extended for another two months to another day to be completed.

He also arrived on June 1, the first flight from Cairo airport to Sanaa, after approval by Egyptian authorities after UN and international mediation, after Cairo refused to deal with passports issued by Houthis in Sanaa.

In the early hours of the morning of June 1, dozens of passengers gathered at Sanaa Airport, awaiting the first direct flight from Cairo to the Yemeni capital, and some headed for the Yemeni airline office, hoping to get an instant ticket to Travel. However, most of them returned to their homes disappointed, even those who were supposed to have received advance tickets, due to non-fulfillment of their travel procedures, according to what a number of them told Al-Araby Al- Jadeed.

Obstacles to Yemeni travel from Sanaa

Despite the general joy of returning flights to Sanaa airport, albeit in part, many difficulties and obstacles still stand in the way of the Yemenis and their freedom of movement. Most prominent of these difficulties are legal restrictions on handling flights coming from the Houthi area, in addition to the group’s influence over passenger priorities and widespread corruption in the management of the Yemeni airline, the only carrier in Yemen.

Yemenis complain about the lack of transparency in the nature of obtaining travel tickets. The first flight from Cairo to Sanaa was published a few hours ago. According to the Ministry of Transport of the unknown Houthi government, “145 passengers arrived on the flight from Cairo, while only 78 passengers left.” The plane is an Airbus A320 and has a capacity of about 180 passengers, which has angered many Yemenis who are waiting for thousands of a place to travel.

A statement issued by Yemenia Airways employees in Sana’a regarding the Cairo flight, which was lifted with an incomplete cargo, said “this happened according to instructions and we apologize for any action beyond our control”. adding that “the Management Company agreed to fly with vacancies so as not to impede future flights.” The statement did not specify the nature of the instructions and by whom they were issued.

Jaber Al-Hamidi, a young Yemeni man waiting to travel to treat his father, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he went to the “Yemeni Airways office in Sana’a on the morning of the scheduled flight to Cairo , and there were a large number of sick and elderly people who wanted to travel, and most of them returned on the pretext that there were no seats, some of them got tickets but were not told about flight requirements by medical reports and they returned ”.

He added, “We contacted the Yemen Airways office on a daily basis for reservations, and at first they said the flight was not scheduled, but suddenly the flight was announced while travel agencies said it was fully booked, and then the plane departed with half of its passenger capacity ”.

As for Numan Alwan, in his sixties, he has indicated that he suffers from a chronic liver disease, “Unfortunately, the Yemeni aviation office has covered the news of our flight to Cairo.” He added for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “Employees told me that the option is to travel to Amman for treatment, but my financial means do not allow me because the cost is high, or I travel through Aden, where there is terror, anxiety and tension, going through more than 100 security points, not to mention the reception of the Corona examination, the costs of accommodation and travel.

Complicated procedures for flights from Sana’a

Houthi authorities in Sanaa say patients are given priority in travel. “Patients have priority to travel by commercial and civilian flights through Sana’a International Airport for treatment abroad,” said Houthi government Transport Minister Abdul Wahab Al-Durra. And last Saturday, he announced the formation of a joint committee in Sana’a, consisting of the Supreme Medical Committee, Yemen Airways and the Civil Aviation Authority, to coordinate and regulate commercial and civilian flights through Sana’a International Airport. .

According to the Houthi Medical Committee in Sana’a, “the number of sick cases registered with the committee is 35,000 patients,” and these must travel abroad through two weekly trips, one of which is supposed to be to Cairo and the other. in Amman.

Among the procedures for conducting flights, passenger passports to the coalition command center in Saudi Arabia, 48 hours before the departure of the flight, and this is a prerequisite for the issuance of flight permits; In addition, travel to Egypt requires travelers to have a medical report, which is not available in Sana’a because it is not approved in Egypt and requires time to be issued.

And Yemen Airways announced: “The postponement of the Sanaa-Cairo-Sana’a flight, which was scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, until permits are obtained.” The alleged planning of the flights has not been disclosed by the authorities who give them permission, according to official Houthi sources.

And the director of Sana’a Airport, Khaled Al-Shayef, called for “the announcement of the dates of Yemeni flights to and from Sana’a International Airport, their planning and their regularity so that they can be used in a optimal way “. He said in a press release: “After the extension of the ceasefire for another two months, the number of flights from Sana’a International Airport to Cairo and Amman will be 25, including nine flights that were not implemented by the previous ceasefire.” .

Expensive prices for Yemen lines

Yemen Airways owns non-competitive flights and its prices are among the most expensive in the world. Houthi-controlled Sanaa is still the headquarters of the Yemeni company, although flights depart from governments under the control of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, either from the city of Aden in the south or from Seiyun in the east.

The company receives substantial revenue as Houthi seize the revenue of the Yemeni General Authority for Civil Aviation and Meteorology through civilian aircraft transit tariffs in Yemeni airspace, estimated at US $ 45 million a year, and transferred by international aviation at the Huthi-led bank in Sana’a, according to what was unveiled by Yemeni parliamentarian Abdul Razzaq Al-Hajri at the first session of the House of Representatives in Aden last month.

Yemeni citizen Mona Al-Saqqaf told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that she was able to book a place to travel from Cairo to Sanaa for $ 570 per road, adding that “total prices were different and amounted to $ 700 only on one route, which is twice the official price. ”And she considered,“ Travel agencies took advantage of people’s need to travel and increased prices, and most of those who wanted to travel withdrew because of prices, so the tickets were returned to the black market “.

Other travelers from Sanaa to Amman said the cost of the ticket was $ 700 round trip, excluding black market prices, and there is a difference of about $ 100 in Sanaa flights from the official price in the city of Aden.

Yemen Airlines justifies high ticket prices with high oil prices and their absence in Sanaa, in addition to the high amount of insurance as a result of the war conditions, and therefore it carries a lot of burdens, according to a TV interview with . Sana’a Airport Director Khaled Al-Shayef.

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