MOGADISHU, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Somalia on Wednesday relaunched direct flights from Mogadishu to Kenya's Nairobi after ten years of suspension, following an agreement reached last week between the two countries' leaders.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire flagged off the first African Express Airways flight at Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu, to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
Speaking at the airport, Khaire said the resumption of the flights will ease movement of people and goods between the two countries and cut off the anguish of stop overs at Wajir in northeast Kenya.
"The resumption of direct flights to Nairobi is a victory for Somali people," Khaire said.
Khaire called on aviation authorities to enhance security in and around the airport to ensure that the country's airspace is safe for landings and takeoffs.
Kenya in 2006 introduced a stopover in Wajir for all flights coming to Nairobi from Mogadishu over security concerns, arguing that Wajir acts as a buffer against security threats posed by the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed agreed to relaunch the direct flight last weekend in Nairobi.
The challenge facing authorities implementing the directive was the need to balance security and convenience. Kenyan officials said additional security measures had already been introduced in Mogadishu.
Analysts say the resumption of direct flights would also serve to better diplomatic relations between the two countries since Mogadishu had been pushing for the direct flights in vain.