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Air Djibouti made its first flight on August 3, 2015 since the airline shutdown in 2002 due to bankruptcy.
The airline made its first flight to Hargeisa, Somaliland, carrying a cargo of 6 tons and is expected to restart passenger traffic in November this year. The airline has announced other flights to the capitals of Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia, which are scheduled for next week.
“This is a link of the chain that was missing from Djibouti to ensure the sea-air transit. The first cargo will serve countries in the region and those in the Great Lakes,” said Abubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority. He further stated that the airline also intends to fly to West Africa as well as the United States in the near future.
The airline that was founded in 1963 was dissolved in 2002 after years of mismanagement. It was then re-launched in May 2015 after Djibouti signed a management deal with British-based Cardiff Aviation, owned by Bruce Dickinson who is well known for being the lead singer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
Djibouti aims to become a regional hub for air cargo transport with a mixed cargo, by receiving cargo in the port of Djibouti and moving goods by air.
“Between Shanghai and Abuja, transporting a container can take up to 75 days. With the sea-air transport in Djibouti, this is reduced to 20 days. This is much cheaper than any airline and much faster than any sea carrier,” Hadi also stated.
Air Djibouti is expected to resume passenger flights in November with flights to Paris, London, Dubai and Mumbai. The company is currently operating with a single aircraft but it is waiting for the delivery of five aircrafts, including Boeing 767, 737 and 757.