13 Jul Astral Aviation Limited – Resumes flights into South Sudan
Following the reports of new conflict in South Sudan, Astral Aviation had suspended its operations from 09 – 12th July 2016, citing concerns over safety of their staff, affecting the three weekly cargo flights from Nairobi to Juba.
Astral chief executive officer Sanjeev Gadhia said they cancelled their freighter operation on Sunday after the airport in Juba was closed, but have resumed flights today on a chartered Fokker 100 on an evacuation mission, landing in Nairobi at 15:30 local time with 96 passengers onboard.
South Sudan envoy to Kenya Chol Ajongo said that the airport was reopened yesterday, allowing aircrafts to fly in and out of the facility.
Mr. Gadhia noted that the war in South Sudan and the subsequent closure of the airport had created a backlog of 100 tonnes of cargo as of yesterday. The firm normally ferries 50 tonnes of cargo in a week.
Astral Aviation will operate charters for passenger evacuations from Juba – Nairobi on a daily basis and will resume its cargo flights on 15-July 2016.
In December 2013 and January 2014, Astral Aviation evacuated in excess of a 1000 passengers who were stranded in Juba following the attempted coup. Similar flights have been performed in Bangui and Bujumbura to evacuate expatriates and diplomatic personnel to Nairobi.