Yemen aviation crisis prompts ITF and union to urge UN intervention

April 17, 2015

The ITF and its affiliate the Employees and Workers Syndicate of Yemen Airways have separately written to the United Nations secretary-general to express their deep concern about the impact of the escalating war and the recent development of foreign military powers imposing a blockade on Yemeni airspace facilities.

The Yemen Airways workers’ union has urged UN action over the fact that the national flag carrier has had to cease operations due to its aircraft being seized in Djibouti. The airline had planned to move its base out of the country and continue operations but this is now impossible.

The union had told the ITF that the blockade was worsening the humanitarian crisis for aviation workers and the population as a whole, as Yemen is cut off from the rest of the world.

Steve Cotton wrote to Ban Ki-moon on 16 April: “We are asking you to take the all necessary steps to protect the country’s civil aviation industry infrastructure, its workers and their families. To this end, the national flag carrier of Yemen should be allowed to operate in and out of the country with immediate effect. This is crucial to limit the devastating effects of the war for the whole country.

“The targeting of civil aviation infrastructure and the displacement of thousands of civil aviation workers, including pilots, engineers, cabin crew, ground staff and others by foreign military forces is totally unacceptable.

He said that air travel could not be regarded simply as a commercial business, as the costs of security and the vulnerability of the sector to political events required air travel to be given special treatment. He called for the UN’s support for “this essential component of Yemen’s national economic infrastructure”.

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