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Yemen reopens main airport after 6-year suspension due to al-Qaeda

The Civil Aviation Authority of Yemen said in a brief press statement on Friday that it was pleased to fully resume air navigation at Al-Rayyan International Airport located in the country's oil-rich province of Hadramout

Xinhua , Friday 9 Apr 2021
Al-Riyan airport
Al-Riyan airport in the Hadramaut provincial capital of al-Mukalla is preparing to resume operations after a four-year stoppage due to al-Qaeda vandalism. [Photo courtesy of the Hadramaut governor office]
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Yemen's government has announced reopening a main airport for domestic flights in the country's southeastern province of Hadramout after being suspended for nearly six years.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Yemen said in a brief press statement on Friday that it was pleased to fully resume air navigation at Al-Rayyan International Airport located in the country's oil-rich province of Hadramout.

It said that a flight operated by government-owned Yemenia airline was the first to land at the airport coming from the southern port city of Aden.

Al-Rayyan airport, Yemen's third-largest airport, was closed in 2015 when militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch took advantage of the ongoing civil war and completely captured the strategic Yemeni city.

The terror elements were heavily deployed across Hadramout after overrunning all the state offices and government institutions including Al-Rayyan airport that was partially burned.

An official of Hadramout's local government confirmed to Xinhua that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has largely participated in reopening the Al-Rayyan airport through financing and overseeing all the rehabilitation operations.

"The UAE trained hundreds of local Yemeni fighters and played a significant military role in pushing the al-Qaeda militants out from different areas in Hadramout and recapturing all the government facilities including the airport," the official said anonymously.

He indicated that the UAE began in 2016 with rebuilding the destroyed state facilities instantly after ending the anti-terror military campaign carried out against the al-Qaeda militants in Hadramout.

Since 2015, the UAE has provided more than 6 billion US dollars in foreign assistance to the war-torn Yemeni regions, according to UAE officials.

The sum was used to help rebuild various sectors in the country, including vital infrastructure, and to restore health and social services.

The UAE is still an active member of the Saudi-led Arab military coalition that has been fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern provinces including the capital Sanaa. 

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