First Ethiopian flight in 20 years lands to cheers in Eritrea

Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam took to the onboard intercom as the flight crossed into Eritrean airspace.

Passengers pose for a selfie picture inside an Ethiopian Airlines flight which departed from the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Eritrea's capital Asmara on 18 July 2018. Picture: AFP.

ASMARA - The first flight in 20 years from Ethiopia to Eritrea landed safely in Asmara on Wednesday, to be greeted by traditional dancers waving flags and flowers, cementing a stunning reconciliation between the Horn of Africa foes.

Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam took to the onboard intercom as the flight crossed into Eritrean airspace. “This is the first time that this is happening in twenty years,” he said, to applause from the 315 passengers on board.

Last week the two countries ended two decades of military stalemate over a border war in which tens of thousands died.