By Allan Kisia
A Nairobi-based aviation company will next month start weekly flights to southern Sudan.
Global Aviation Africa (GAA) will introduce scheduled flights between Nairobi to Juba and Juba to Khartoum. The company’s chief operations director, Nobeel Qureshi, said the new route targets businessmen.
The launch comes at a time when reconstruction work for the war-torn region following decades of civil war. Non-Governmental Organisations have already established bases in the region, while traders from across the continent are eyeing the southern Sudan emerging market.
"The route schedule will enable business or investments
to flourish as traders will easily access markets for their products," said Qureshi.
National flag carrier, Kenya Airways and Martinair, are also keen on the route and have pledged to work closely with GAA. GAA will be working in a joint venture with Ababeel
Aviation, a Sudanese aviation company.
Ababeel had acquired Russian aircrafts, which will fly the routes once the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority grants it landing permissions.
The aircraft, 11yushin IL 76 TD, is a medium and long-range plane, which has four turbo fans. The aircraft is specifically a
cargo carrier with a carrying capacity of up to 40 tonnes.
The Sudanese firm was incorporated in Sudan in 2001 and is fast establishing itself in the aviation industry in the region.
It has a maintenance base at Khartoum and has signed contracts with the World Health Organisation and White Nile Petroleum Company among other organisations.
Currently, Kenya has the highest number of aircraft flying to Sudan. Ababeel will be ferrying up to 20 tonnes of cargo per week between Nairobi-Juba and Khartoum.