|Commenced operations||April 2003|
|Hubs||Asmara International Airport|
|Company slogan||Gateway to Africa|
|Parent company||Government of Eritrea (100%)|
Eritrean Airlines, shortened to Eritrean, is the national airline of Eritrea. Based at Asmara International Airport it is wholly owned by the government of Eritrea. Scheduled service had been discontinued since 2008, and the airline operated only a few hajj flights every year. The airline was restarted under new management in 2011 and in 2011, Nasair, a privately owned company, merged with government-owned Eritrean Airlines, to form Nasair Eritrea
The airline was nominally established in May 1991 serving as the ground handling agent at Asmara International Airport and at Assab and Massawa. It also acted as sales agent for other major airlines flying to Eritrea. In May 2002, it was decided to expand into airline services. In April 2003 , an ex-EgyptAir 14-year-old Boeing 767-300ER was leased from Boeing and used to start operations between Asmara and Amsterdam. It was the first aircraft the airline took possession of, and was named Queen Bee. A second Boeing 767, a –200ER series, was bought in mid-2004 for US$5.8 million.,
The lease of the first Boeing 767 seems to have been replaced by an Airbus A320 in 2006 and then replaced again with a Boeing 757 in early 2007. It was again replaced with a DC-9 in late 2007, ending up with an MD-83.
In April 2003, Eritrean Airlines started regular services between Asmara and Frankfurt, Milan, Nairobi and Rome.[additional citation needed] In 2004, the airline added Amsterdam as another destination and in 2005, services began to Djibouti and Dubai. Meanwhile, the Nairobi route was dropped. By 2006, the flights to Amsterdam had been dropped while flights to Milan remained seasonal. On September 21, 2006, Eritrean Airlines entered an accord with the Government of Pakistan to start direct flights between Eritrea and Pakistan. Eritrean Airlines received permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan to start two flights a week each for Karachi and Lahore. The deal has duly materialised since then, with the commencement of online Eritrean services to Lahore and Karachi via Dubai four times per week on each route, with full fifth freedom passenger and cargo traffic rights on Pakistan - Dubai sector.
The airline announced in 2008 that it was commencing seasonal services to Bamako, for Haj travellers. Flights to Djibouti have been suspended since the end of 2008 due to renewed tensions along the two countries' border and flights to Frankfurt had been temporarily cancelled as of summer of 2009.
In June 2011, a senior Eritrean Foreign Ministry official said that the United States government has applied pressure prohibiting companies from leasing aircraft to Eritrea. He stated that Washington is resorting to such illegal acts as part of its hostile attempts of stiffening anti-Eritrea sanctions, at a time when the Eritrean government is engaged in programs of buying and leasing of passenger planes under a new Pakistani management.
Eritrean Airlines resumed operations on 16 July. It also introduced a new livery on the first A320 received, which was used for the inaugural service to Dubai and Lahore. A second A320 was added in October, and flights to Karachi were launched. The carrier also plans to restore domestic services once the currently stored Dornier fleet is made airworthy. Long-term fleet plans may include introduction of wide body aircraft like the Airbus A330, as well as new Boeing 737s to replace the A320.
As of September 2013[update], the company serves the following destinations:
Eritrean are also said to have six Dornier aircraft, which are stored in Eritrea.
The airline previously operated the following equipment:
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eritrean Airlines.|
- Eritrean Airlines (Archive)