Opening of Mukalla-Salalah line sheds light on ailing al-Saedda airlines

National Yemen

Fisher boat fishing in Gulf of Aden

By: Tahani al-Sabri

Transportation minister Dr. Waid Batheeb has announced that Yemen and Oman will launch marine navigation of the Mukalla to Salalah line in the coming  week.  This news comes after the break of al-Saedda airline flights between the two countries, which some speculated was linked to the marine navigation. Batheeb assures that this is a result of a technical glitch in the company. al-Saedda has seen many problems recently, partially because it is deeply in debt.

According to an official note from Yemen Petroleum Company to Yemen Airways, al-Saeda is running on a deficit of $358 640, which is larger than the combined debt of all other Yemeni airlines. Yemen Airways and al-Saeda was given several days to pay their debts on 7 February, with Yemen Petroleum Company threatening to cut off their fuel supplies permanently, in a crisis that lasted five days.

al-Saeda currently has only one plane operating within Yemen, and sometimes outside of it. A source who worked in Aden Airport says that this is down from four aircraft, which deteriorated due to neglect, as well as administrative and financial corruption. He went on to explain that millions of dollars were stolen from the company under the pretenses of maintenance, and supplies, for the small fleet.

al-Saeda airlines launched on 5 April 2009 with four weekly flights to Oman.