Former Yemeni officials in the General Authority of Civil Aviation revealed that the militias, with the help of Iran, excluded all the cadres of Sanaa Airport and the authority from their positions, and pushed its members who were trained and qualified in Tehran to control from their position the navigation in the entire Yemeni airspace.
Former officials of the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Sanaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militias sent dozens of their security personnel to Iran through a neighboring country, and that these militias received extensive training on dealing with air navigation radars, managing the control tower at Sanaa Airport, and how to use Over-the-air communications, which enables them to control the entire aviation territory in Yemeni airspace, as a result of the failure to complete the transfer of the authority’s activities to Aden.
President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi had issued a decision to transfer the authority to Aden more than six years ago, and one of the most important jobs that are still in the hands of the Houthis is the management of permits and licenses for the landing, take-off and transit of aircraft within the region of Yemen, as well as the region’s center that provides a service monitoring the region Area Control Center» ACC».
Former officials in the Civil Aviation Authority warned of the danger of the navigational control center remaining in the entire Yemeni airspace under the control of the militias, because this provides them with the ability to control and obtain all information on civil aviation movements.
The officials confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the militias used this control and civilian information in the terrorist attack that targeted the plane that was carrying the Yemeni government when it arrived at Aden airport at the end of last year, as under these authorities, the group receives the information of all civil planes as soon as they enter Yemeni airspace and until they leave. From this atmosphere, and therefore it specified for its military wing the moment of landing of the plane that was carrying the government and the moment of the beginning of the disembarkation of passengers.
One of these officials says that the Houthis, since the first day of the coup, have used the authority financially and logistically to serve their project, so they appointed a leader named “Abu Taher” as an agent of the aviation authority, and he is close to Ahmed Hamid (Abu Mahfouz), the director of the head of the coup ruling council.
Abu Taher – according to the source – is one of those who received training in Lebanon and under the direct supervision of the current Minister of Transport in the unrecognized coup government, Amer Al-Marani, who is the deputy head of Houthi intelligence, and before him Zakaria Al-Shami. The funds provided by the commission as support for militias during 2018 and 2019 amounted to $9 million.
According to these statements, the Houthi militia uses the money it obtains as civil aircraft transit fees in Yemeni airspace to purchase weapons and military tools because airlines supply these amounts to the authority’s accounts abroad, and this makes them not obliged to send money from inside, but rather cover the purchase of these materials from their accounts in the outside.
For his part, the former director of the training center in the General Authority of Civil Aviation Yahya Al-Jama`i said that the amounts paid by international airlines as fees for their passage in Yemeni airspace go to the Houthi militia, and that the amount exceeded 250 million dollars from 2016 to 2019, despite the decision issued by the President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi transferred the General Authority for Civil Aviation in 2015.
According to Al-Jamai, the General Authority for Aviation was transferred to Aden in August 2015 and the international community dealt with it and ministers from the legitimacy participated in a conference of the Civil Aviation Organization that was held in Canada.