Breaking News – RwandAir cancels Juba flight over safety concerns

RWANDAIR CANCELS FRIDAY FLIGHT TO JUBA OVER SECURITY CONCERNS

(Posted 20th December 2013 11.30 hrs EAT)

RwandAir has just announced that on account of security concerns in Juba they have decided to cancel their Friday flight to the South Sudanese capital and issued the following statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RwandAir Cancels Juba Flights For Friday December 20th 2013

Rwandair Cancels Friday Operations to Juba; Passengers Advised to Monitor Website For Updated Flight Information.

Friday December 20, 2013. Rwandair, the national carrier would like to officially inform the public that WB430/WB431 flights, scheduled for Juba have been cancelled for Friday 20th December 2013 on account of the security situation in Juba. We will continue to assess the security situation on the ground and will advise on later flights/operations in due course.

Passengers with travel plans in the near future should contact the airline to obtain the latest flight status information for confirmation before making their way to the Airport. Travelers are advised to monitor the airline website to be updated on continued flight information. Rwandair’s website is www.rwandair.com. “RwandAir treats the safety of its passengers and employees as its absolute top priority, and safety is never compromised under any circumstances. We will work to resume normal service and to accommodate our customers.” said Rwandair CEO John Mirenge.

For more information/ assistance please contact your nearest Rwandair office or our call center on 3030.

For more information contact the head of corporate communications, Anna Fye at +250784873299/ anna.fye@rwandair.com 

Scores of passengers are waiting at the Juba International Airport for an opportunity to fly out of the country after indications that the fighting has now spread across much of South Sudan with government opponents making heavy inroads and taking town after town, following – what was largely blamed on the regime in Juba as a fake coup attempt in order to create a scenario to justify a wide spread purge of opponents of President Kiir – the initial fighting which broke out last Sunday night.

While dozens of busses have been chartered by Kenya and Uganda, to take their nationals out of South Sudan and bring them across the Ugandan border at Nimule to safety, foreign embassies have organized relief flights, including the German government which – according to information received – will send two German Air Force planes into Juba today to uplift their and other European Union nationals first to Entebbe before giving them the option to either stay there or return to Germany or their home countries. Kenya Airways, Fly 540 and Air Uganda were planning to fly today but have yet to confirm that they will actually do so, probably deciding on a case by case basis after getting the latest updates from their station managers in Juba. Much of yesterday was the airport out of service with a B737-500 stuck on the runway after the nose gear had collapsed, throwing a spanner in the works of evacuation flights since the airlines were unable to land and had to cancel or delay flights while the runway was blocked.

RwandAir though must be congratulated to put safe and secure operations first and rather let go of the opportunity to fly back to Kigali with a full load, when the safety of the aircraft and the crew is even in the slightest doubt.

Watch this space for more updates as and when available as the situation is fluid in Juba and developing at a rapid pace.

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