The senior official in charge of operations at the Juba International Airport says he has not been officially notified of the planned resumption of flights to South Sudan by Kenya Airways.
Kenya Airways over the week announced the resumption of international passenger flights as of today 1st August 2020.
This comes following the easing of restrictions on movement as directed by Kenyan President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to Kenyan media, the national carrier will open routes for international flights to London, Dubai, Canada, Japan, South Korea, UAE, Qatar, Italy, UK France, Switzerland, USA (except California, Florida and Texas).
Earlier this week, Kenya Transport Cabinet Secretary said flights from Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, Morocco, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania can also resume flying to Kenya.
Tanzania has, however, banned Kenya Airways from flying into the country until further notice.
By Saturday 10 am, KQ indicated five flights had Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, with the first flight headed to Ethiopia.
It revealed that the first inbound flight arrived from Kigali at 11.30 am.
A purported letter notifying South Sudan of KQ’s resumption of flights to Juba was allegedly sent to the South Sudan embassy in Nairobi.
South Sudan’s Ambassador to Kenya, Chol Ajongo Mawut was quoted by Radio Tamazuj on Thursday indicating that the airline will fly twice weekly to the capital, Juba.
On its official website, Eye Radio noticed KQ had flagged Juba and 26 other African cities in green, indicating that it is operating 4 flights weekly to Juba from August 2020.
“The information is correct to the best of Kenya Airways knowledge at the time of publication and is being reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis,” a disclaimer on KQ website read.
But the Director-General of the Juba International Airport said he does not know of such arrangements.
Kur Kuol told Eye Radio Saturday morning that his office has not been informed accordingly.
He mentioned that Rwanda Airlines also expressed interest in resuming flights to Juba, but has not written official to the airport administration.
“There are no official letters from Kenya and Rwanda, but all of them are resuming international flights today,” said Kur.
“If they come today I will try to ask them, are they coming for just one day visit or they will continue coming to Juba, so that I get there schedule.”
In May, South Sudan resumed its interstate and regional flights and directed the Civil Aviation Authority to reopen airports.
There are hundreds of families, students, and traders trapped between the two countries since the regional governments’ shutdown land and air passenger transportation to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenya Airways said it will eventually be flying to 30 destinations, as the airline monitors the situation to decide where to increase or reduce frequencies and destinations.
“If demand picks up, we will increase traffic and destinations and when it slows down we respond effectively,” said KQ Managing Director Allan Kilavuka.
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Published Saturday, March 2, 2024
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