Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways confirmed that it has been forced to postpone the launch of its flights to Addis Ababa after the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority rejected the airline’s application for the required operating permit.
Etihad’s five times per week service to the Ethiopian capital was scheduled to begin on November 2, 2012.
The refusal came despite the Ethiopian government and the Abu Dhabi government signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June 2007, the carrier said in a statement.
Based on this agreement, Ethiopian Airlines commenced scheduled passenger flights to Abu Dhabi in July 2008, suspending the service 12 months later.
The UAE government has held several meetings over six months to resolve the situation, but the final meeting in Addis Ababa ended in failure last week, said Etihad.
“Unfortunately, due to lack of any positive outcome Etihad Airways has had no alternative but to postpone the launch of flights between Addis Ababa and Abu Dhabi until further notice,” the statement said.
The airline commented: “The actions of the Ethiopian CAA ignore the MoU between Abu Dhabi and Ethiopia. They are also very much against the best interests of consumers, who are being denied the opportunity to experience Etihad Airways’ award-winning service.
“We will continue to push for terms of the MoU to be honoured. In the meantime, we deeply regret any inconvenience caused to our customers and business partners by this delay”.
Etihad Airways is contacting all passengers who have booked to fly on the planned service and will offer a full refund, or will assist passengers to make flight arrangements with another carrier.