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Ethiopia resumes flights to Sudan’s Khartoum on Friday

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 17, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia has resumed flights to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after they were suspended due to an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Eritrea, Ethiopian Airlines said on Friday.

The flag carrier on June 14 temporarily grounded a number of domestic flights to Ethiopia’s North and international routes bound to Khartoum and Djibouti to the risk of planes malfunctioning by flying through potentially damaging volcanic ash clouds.

“Flights to Khartoum will resume this evening while flights to Eastern Ethiopia have been recently affected. The ash cloud is expected to clear soon and flights to Northern and Eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti will resume accordingly” the airline said today.

The Dubbi volcano, in the Southern Eritrea, very close the Ethiopian border, erupted late on Sunday triggering two moderate earthquakes of 5.7 magnitudes.

The airspace of Northern Ethiopia and East Africa had been affected by the strong volcanic erupting which has been spewing a 13.5 kilometre high plumes of ash into the air, according to the France-based Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).

The Ethiopian Airlines apologized all passengers for the inconvenience caused by the unanticipated incident and requested passengers to call their nearest offices to coordinate their travel plans or visit their website.

Following the volcanic activity, German airline Lufthansa, the Middle East-based Fly Dubai and Turkish Airlines among others suspended flights to Addis Ababa and to some destinations in East Africa.

It has also forced US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and her delegation who were in Addis Ababa for meetings at the African Union, to cut short their three-nation African tour by 24 hours due to fears they could get stuck in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines, one of the largest and fastest growing airlines in Africa, provides services to 62 international destinations spanning four continents.
It is one of the few year-to-year award receiving airliners.

(ST)