National Airways (Ethiopia) (9Y, Addis Ababa) has announced plans to start scheduled passenger services to Mogadishu, Somalia by the end of this month. The carrier's manager, Hussein Hosh, told Radio Dalsan this week that the Ethiopian carrier would offer three weekly flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, the first such services since 1977.

“The decision followed [a] request by Somali businessmen on the Ethiopian government,” he said in an interview.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sought to resolve all outstanding issues with neighbours Eritrea and Somalia in a move seen as stabilizing the Horn of Africa as well as removing external security threats within Ethiopia.

Somalia, then under the Siad Barre regime, attempted to annex the Ogaden region of Ethiopia during a brief war that lasted from July 1977 to March 1978. However, despite early gains, Somali forces were driven back by Ethiopia, then under the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, with the aid of Cuban military assistance. Flights between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu have been non-existent since then. In June of this year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in Mogadishu to reaffirm ties and to sign a number of infrastructure development deals, likely a catalyst for National Airways' upcoming route launch.

Despite its termination of flights to Mogadishu over four decades ago, Ethiopian Airlines has carried out services to Hargeisa in Somaliland, a self-declared state internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia.

As previously reported, National Airways has been granted wide-ranging Somali traffic rights which, aside from Mogadishu, include Addis Ababa to each of Garowe and Bossaso. Operations will be onboard its recently acquired fleet of four E145s.