The Houthis control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sana.
The government is based in Aden, a port city in the south, but was largely active in exile in Saudi Arabia. The government side split between Saudi Arabia-backed forces and Emirates-sponsored southern separatists last year, causing clashes in the south and hampering efforts to negotiate a political solution to end the war.
The Separatists took control of Aden last year.
Saudi Arabia, in fits and starts, has urged the Yemenis to repair the broken government alliance against the Houthis. A new unity government was sworn in that month, brokered by the kingdom’s negotiators under an agreement of power-sharing known as the Riyadh Accords.
No one took responsibility in the hours following the explosion, despite officials from various factions being quick to make allegations.
Members of the new government accused the Houthis.
The government’s new foreign minister, Ahmed BinMubarak, on the plane, said on Twitter that the “targeting” of the new cabinet was “a criminal and terrorist act by Houthis that should be condemned consistently and unequivocally”.
Nizar Haytham, a spokesman for the Southern Transitional Council, the governing body of the southern separatists, accused the Houthis and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood of cooperating in the attack to undermine the coalition. He said an initial investigation revealed that the airport was hit by a missile launched from a drone.
Muhammad al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, declined responsibility for the attack, Al Jazeera reported.
The Trump administration is considering whether to expel the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization, American officials have said.
Members of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State also operate in Yemen.
Among the dead were Yemeni government officials who had waited to greet the new ministers who flew out of Saudi Arabia, said Fadi Baoum, an official with a group campaigning for independence in southern Yemen who spoke to airport workers.