Egypt on Tuesday resumed direct commercial flights to Sudan for the first time since a devastating war broke out between Sudan’s rival general earlier this year.
A flight operated by Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir was received in the Sudanese coastal city of Port Sudan by Sameh Farouq, Egypt’s consul general. He said EgyptAir would operate a weekly round trip to Port Sudan, according the state-run MENA news agency.
Flight MS865 departed from Cairo and landed in Port Sudan at 6.30 a.m., according to tracking service Flightradar24. A return flight landed in Cairo on Tuesday afternoon.
They were the first commercial flights to and from Sudan since the African nation descended into war in mid-April. The conflict pits Sudan’s military, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, against the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
The resumption of flights came a week after Burhan met with President Fattah el-Sissi in the Egyptian city of el-Alamein on the Mediterranean. It was the first trip for the Sudanese leader abroad since the fighting.
Sudan reopened the airspace in the east of the country in mid-August, according to the country’s civil aviation authority. Port Sudan, which is controlled by the military, has largely been spared the fighting and became Sudan’s main entry point for humanitarian flights and aid shipments.
The conflict has turned Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and other urban areas into battlegrounds. More than 4.8 million people fled their homes either to safer areas inside Sudan or crossed into neighboring countries. Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting.