EGYPT AIR ‘SUSPENDS’ JUBA FLIGHTS
Information was received overnight that Egypt Air’s service between Cairo via Khartoum to Juba, previously operated twice a week, has been suspended indefinitely.
While talking of a ‘resumption of flights sometime in the future’ this has been dismissed as ‘hogwash’ by an aviation figure in Juba who added: ‘they have failed to attract market share. Their routing from Cairo first to Khartoum has condemned this operation to failure. We in the South are now moving towards independence and being forced to travel via Khartoum is not what many of us prefer. The timing of the flight is also bad. If there is a delay, and there have been many, the flight from Khartoum to Juba cannot operate easily because Juba is open for daylight operations only. So at a certain time they would just from Khartoum fly back to Cairo and offload passengers to Juba and strand them in a hostile environment. At least until 09th July we have the same passports still but what after independence, our people will probably need Visa and may be treated like spies or badly’.
Only recently was a report filed here over massive allegations of mistreatment and racist comments being made towards Southern Sudanese travellers on this flight by Cairo airport staff, when they were told the delay would result in them not travelling at all as the flight would only go as far as Khartoum. When these news spread this was almost the death knell for the operation, besides the recent political upheavals in Egypt when no one wanted to travel via Cairo with curfews in place and flight cancellations galore.
It is not sure if and in fact when Egypt Air may resume flights to Juba, but not likely before independence – due on 09th July – and then only as a non-stop service leaving out Khartoum, as otherwise the route would again be subject to all the same issues which now led to the ‘suspension’ of operations.
Watch this space for breaking aviation news from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.