Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Yemeni government: Houthis seize Yemenia Airways plane


Tue, 03-10-2023 03:39 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

The internationally recognized Yemeni government has accused the Iran-backed Houthis of detaining a Yemenia Airways civilian aircraft at Sanaa International Airport.

Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Al-Eryani stated yesterday that the Houthis had seized an Airbus A330 belonging to Yemenia Airways.

Al-Eryani also accused the Houthis of freezing the balances of Yemenia Airways, "which exceed $80 million over the past 7 months." He added: "This is a new approach to escalation."

Al-Eryani claimed that the Houthis had "signed an air transport agreement with the Iranian company Mahan Air to operate 14 weekly flights from Sanaaa Airport."

So far, the Houthis have not made an official announcement regarding the agreement, and have yet to comment on the accusations made by the Yemeni government’s Minister of Information.

Last September 30th, Yemenia Airways threatened to suspend its flights from Sanaa International Airport in response to the freezing of its assets by the Houthis.

"The Houthi militia's decision to ban the withdrawal of Yemenia Airways from its financial balances in Sanaa's banks is linked to illegal demands and justifications," the company said in a statement.

"We informed the Houthis that their demand to open Sanaa Airport to all international destinations is not within the company's jurisdiction, but rather within the jurisdiction of other authorities," it added.

In April 2022, working within the framework of a truce brokered by the United Nations in Yemen, Yemenia Airways resumed operation of a limited number of flights from Sanaa International Airport to Arab airports. 

Although the agreement officially expired in October 2022 without any negotiated renewal, activity at both Sanaa Airport and the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah has continued until now.

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