September 8, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Commercial flights from Juba to Khartoum started Sunday after Sudanese authorities witnessed the first arrival into the country of a South Sudanese airline, the state news agency (SUNA) reported.
- Passengers arrive at Khartoum’s international airport on 13 September 2012 (Photo: Reuters /Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
"This is the first flight of the South Supreme Airlines to Khartoum airport,” Ayii Duang Ayii, chairman of the Board of Directors of the airlines company, told the agency.
The move, according to the official, was a sign of improved relations between the two countries, and that it will further enhance cooperation ties for the benefit of their people.
The Juba-based company plans to add two B737-300s to its small fleet.
South Supreme Airlines is one of the few airlines companies currently operating in South Sudan.
The private South Sudanese airline has effectively assumed monopoly over South Sudan commercial aviation after the withdrawal of the Turkish Atlasjet Airlines from a joint venture with the South Sudanese governmentaiming to create a national carrier.
Ayii, however, stressed that cooperation between the two sides would shift from the stage of commercial exchange to a phase of Sudanese investments in South Sudan and the establishment of partnerships between the two countries’ businessmen.
Last week, the Sudanese leader Omer Al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart, Salva Kiir met in Khartoum for talks aimed at normalising relations between the two ex-foes.
The two presidents, according to the joint communiqué, agreed to overcome all the obstacles hampering the implementation of the September 2013 cooperation agreements, activate all the committees related to its enforcement and tasked the two foreign ministers to coordinate and supervise their activities.
In January last year, Sudan’s Aviation Authority suspended daily direct flights between Juba and Khartoum after an initial deadline of 9 April as they were no longer domestic thus required an international agreement.
Cessation of flights between the two capitals also cut off the exchange of good as well as free movement of people across the two countries’ borders.
South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011, leaving numerous issues outstanding, including border demarcation, security and oil.