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Kenya’s private airline launches flights to southern Sudan


NAIROBI, Feb 12, 2005 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s privately owned airline, East African Safari Air Express (EASAX), has launched scheduled flights to the southern Sudanese provisional capital of Rumbek, officials said here Saturday.

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The Rumbek Airstrip.

"We are delighted to be spreading our wings to southern Sudan and are proud to be the first scheduled airline to support peace in the region," a statement from the EASAX said.

The airline’s Managing Director Adam Ogden said the airline would initially operate two weekly flights.

Ogden said the Fokker-27 aircraft will operate return flights to Rumbek every Monday and Friday from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The private airline also runs two daily flights to Kenyan lake city of Kisumu and daily flights to Lokichoggio on the Kenya-Sudan border.

Two years ago, EASAX made history by becoming the first airline to operate scheduled flights to Lokichoggio, a key transit point to southern Sudan.

The airline’s management said it was looking forward to the upgrading of Rumbek airstrip to enable it deploy larger aircraft to the route.

The airstrip falls under the jurisdiction of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and upgrading work is expected to begin in the next few months.

Rumbek has been picked to become the provisional capital of southern Sudan following the recent signing of a peace deal between the SPLM and the Khartoum government.

The airline which is facing competition from Kenyan national carrier, Kenya Airways, and other airlines in the region amid depreciating profitability caused by fuel costs, has turned to southern Sudan markets whose potentials were unlocked by the recent peace accord signed in Kenya January 9 to end the 21-year civil war that ravaged the vast region.

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