Yemenia Airways website

Houthis seize 4 Yemenia Airways' planes in Sanaa


Wed, 26-06-2024 05:32 PM, Aden

Sanaa (South24) 

The Houthis have seized four Yemenia Airways planes in Sanaa, disrupting return flights of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia and raising concerns about air navigation safety.

Yemenia Airways announced in a statement today that the Houthis seized three Airbus 320s yesterday evening, adding to the large-capacity Airbus 330 that has been detained for over a month.

Each of the planes was carrying hundreds of pilgrims returning from Mecca when they were detained at Sanaa International Airport.

The airline appealed to all concerned parties, including the Yemeni government, the Saudi-led coalition, and international aviation organizations, to intervene urgently to halt “these unacceptable practices” and release the detained aircraft.

They warned that the detention of the aircraft "would significantly affect the company’s operations and cause it significant additional losses."

The airline explained that the detained planes had been in the week-long process of transporting about 8,400 Yemeni pilgrims to Houthi-controlled areas after their return from Saudi Arabia.

The company indicated that the Houthis have caused them great challenges, including the militant group’s withholding of its balances for more than a year.

Despite these challenges, the airline operated over 100 round-trip flights between Sanaa and Jeddah, fully paying for flights from outside Yemen.

The company, known simply as "Yemenia", apologized to the pilgrims affected by the detained planes’ inability to return to Sana'a.

Each year, tens of thousands of Yemenis make the sacred and often once-in-a-lifetime Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, a trip that costs on average $3,200 by land and $4,000 by air, from a country where millions live on just a few hundred dollars a month. 

On June 2, the internationally recognized government directed Yemenia Airways to transfer all revenues from its Sanaa banks to its official headquarters in the capital, Aden, or abroad, to protect it from the Houthis.

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