Turmoil continues at Airport in Mekelle Mekelle as Federal authorities continue to block access to passengers

Mekelle፡January 12,2023(Tigray Herald)
It’s now been more than seven days since the Ethiopian government put in place a ban on passengers between the ages of 16-65; straining Ethiopian Airlines operations and leaving hundreds of hopeful passengers in disarray.

#Ethiopian Airlines flights out of Mekelle are fully booked until June of 2023, a problem many Ethiopian Airlines employees admit could be resolved if Headquarters would add additional flights – in addition to the three that are currently flying into the regional capital. Not to mention that the ticket office in Mekelle is still unable to function, meaning many passengers would have to have a friend or relative purchase them a ticket out of pocket or, take an expensive trip to the airport, in the still besieged regional city where fuel is unavailable.

At the airport compound these hopeful passengers are likely to find hundreds of others just like them; some had been turned back by federal authorities in the past few days and were hoping to catch another flight after reading reports by media outlets quoting Ethiopian officials that claim the ban has been lifted, others simply can’t wait till tickets are again available and so are waiting at the airport hoping to catch the next flight – that may have an unusually high number of open seats as passengers continue to be turned back by NISS officials.

The system for registering waiting passengers is also discomforting,  Airlines employees are not yet connected to the Ethiopian Airlines network and so use a paper system to list the names of reserve passengers. After names are listed, an Ethiopian Airline employee will call them out at some point during the day, or even the next. Passengers have no way of knowing, and if they miss they’re names being called they will have to come back to put themselves on yet another list, not knowing when they will finally be able to catch a flight. Red Sea Observer witnessed one passenger scream frantically at an Ethiopian Airlines employee after learning that the piece paper containing her name had been lost, and so had to put her name on a another list.

Airlines workers say the issue could easily be resolved if Headquarters would allow for more flights between Mekelle and Addis Abeba or if they were only reconnect to the airline systems. Until which time, the airport continues to be sight of chaos.

Federal police Officer in Alula Aba Nega international Airport, Mekelle

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