Egypt resumed direct commercial flights to Sudan on Tuesday for the first time since the conflict broke out between Sudan's two rival generals nearly five months ago.
Flight MS865, operated by Egypt's national airline EgyptAir, took off from Cairo early on Tuesday and arrived in Port Sudan, a city on the Red Sea in eastern Sudan, with 120 passengers on board, according to the airline.
"It takes our Sudanese brothers two days to reach Cairo from Sudan by land, enduring a lot of difficulties along the way, particularly for ill individuals, students, children, and elderly people. Under the guidance of the Egyptian political leadership, this has facilitated the people-to-people connection between the two countries through Egyptair, as it's the first international airline to operate regular flights [from Sudan] to Egypt. This is a natural development, considering the strong historical and popular bonds between Egypt and Sudan," said Sameh Farouk, Egypt’s Consul General in Port Sudan.
The Sudanese authorities welcomed the Egyptian plane by spraying it with water during a "water salute" ceremony on landing. Sameh Farouq, the Egyptian Consul General in the city, was also present.
A return flight carrying 115 passengers landed in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Tuesday afternoon, EgyptAir said.
According to the Egyptian news agency MENA, Mr. Farouq said EgyptAir would operate a weekly return flight to Port Sudan.
These are the first commercial flights to and from Sudan since the African country went to war in mid-April. The conflict has pitted the Sudanese army, led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, against the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.