KLM Discontinues Flights to Yemen [Archives:1999/15/Local News]

April 12 1999

The drop in the tourism business has resulted in many casualties. Many hotels are operating at low capacity as occupancy rates have dropped dramatically. Yemenia, the national carrier is having financial difficulties. The aircraft industry and travel related small activities have sustained tremendous losses.
Now, the various airlines operating in Yemen are cutting back on services. Several of them have already reduced the number of flights to Yemen.
KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines, decided to totally discontinue flying into Sanaa. “The last KLM flight will be on June 15th,” according to an official memo from the airline delivered last week to the Yemeni Authority for Civil Aviation.
Abdullah Okasha, the KLM Area Manager, told the Yemen Times that many factors have come together to force the decision. “The main factor is the loss of business,” he pointed out. The country’s travel industry was badly hit following a series of kidnapping incidents in which tourists and Western residents in Yemen were victimized. But the incident that hurt the most was the killing of 3 Britons and an Australian on December 30th, following a botched-up rescue effort by the security forces in a hostage situation in Abyan.
KLM used to run 3 flights a week, and they reduced that to 2 flights two months ago. With the termination of the KLM service, Lufthansa is the only European carrier flying into Sanaa.