First commercial flight in 6 years takes off from Yemen’s capital Sanaa

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, on Monday welcomed the resumption of commercial flights from the capital city’s main airport after six years, as a potential game changer for citizens needing lifesaving medical treatment.

Hans Grundberg noted that the first flight to leave the Houthi-controlled airport in Sana’a – since not long after fighting intensified between the rebel forces there and the Saudi-backed coalition supporting the internationally-recognized Government – had been a key part of the Truce agreement last month.

The flight took off just after 9AM local time, heading for Amman, Jordan, carrying 130 Yemeni passengers. In his statement, Grundberg expressed his gratitude to the Jordanian Government for their invaluable support, “and for the constructive cooperation by the Government of Yemen in facilitating the flight.”

“I would like to congratulate all Yemenis on this important and long-awaited step”, the UN envoy said.

“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,” Grundberg added.

“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.”

Grundberg stressed that intense efforts are being exerted to support the parties in fulfilling all the commitments they made when the agreed to this Truce.

“These commitments were essentially a promise to Yemenis”, he said, “a promise of more security, better access to basic goods and services, and improved freedom of movement within, to and from Yemen.

“Making progress towards opening roads in Taiz is key for the fulfillment of this promise. I expect the parties to meet their obligations, including by urgently meeting to agree on opening roads on Taiz and other governorates in Yemen as per the terms of the Truce agreement,” Grundberg concluded.