Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways on Tuesday confirmed that the airline had been forced to postpone the launch of its flights to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, after the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority rejected the airline’s application for the required operating permit.

This decision comes despite the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding concluded by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of Abu Dhabi in June 2007.

Based on this agreement, Ethiopian Airlines commenced scheduled passenger flights to Abu Dhabi in July 2008, suspending the service 12 months later.

The national airline of the United Arab Emirates five times per week service was scheduled to commence on November 2, 2012. Over a period of six months, the UAE Government has held several meetings to resolve this situation, with the final meeting in Addis Ababa ending in failure last week.

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 airline said: “The actions of the Ethiopian CAA ignore the Memorandum of Understanding 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’ service,” Etihad said in a statement.

“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,” the airline said.

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.