The first of many Ethiopian Airlines flights arrived in Mekelle, Tigray’s regional capital, Wednesday, signaling an end to the two-year isolation of the region from the rest of the country. Families on the flight were seen embracing one another after arriving in the city.
Ethiopian airlines said Tuesday the daily flights will help families reconnect as well as boost business and tourism.
The end of the isolation comes weeks after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front rebel group and the Ethiopian government signed a peace deal in South Africa, agreeing to resolve their differences through dialogue and end the suffering of the population.
The peace agreement has helped to open up the region, allowing aid to reach millions of people and restoring telecommunications and banking services.
On Monday, Ethio Telecom representatives joined a delegation led by the parliament speaker to assess the war-damaged telecommunications infrastructure.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesperson Billene Seyoum tweeted on Wednesday that Ethio Telecom had completed the connection of 27 towns and 981 fiber optic cables.
The national airline said it would increase the number of daily flights depending on demand.
Kenyan and African Union delegations are expected to visit Mekelle this week to oversee the implementation of the November peace agreement.