The plane carrying new government ministers from Saudi Arabia had just landed at the airport in the southern port city of Aden.
Yemeni officials say the blast killed at least 22 people and injured 50, also damaging the terminal building.
Gunfire was also heard at the airport.
No one on the plane was hurt.
Many of the officials rushed back inside the plane or ran down the stairs seeking shelter.
The source of the blast was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for attacking the airport.
The officials on the plane included the prime minister and the Saudi ambassador to Yemen.
Witnesses and Saudi media said they made it safely to the city’s presidential palace.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been engulfed in civil war since 2014, killing more than 112,000 people including thousands of civilians.
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