Kenya Airways Launches Direct Flights from Juba to Khartoum as It Looks to Take Advantage of Normalized Relations

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Kenyan national airline Kenya Airways has announced new flights directly from Juba to Khartoum. KQ is looking to cash in on increased normalization of relations between Sudan and its runaway neighbor South Sudan. The move is also part of KQs plan to expand flights into the greater Africa region in the near term.

According to a statement released by the Kenyan carrier, the flights will start from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and fly to Khartoum via the city of Juba. This will also be done every Wednesday and Sunday. Also, KQ announced that there will be another flight from Nairobi to Juba via Khartoum to the city of Nairobi each Friday.

Normalization Of Relations Between South Sudan and Sudan

In recent weeks, South Sudan and Sudan have been trying to normalize diplomatic relations. The two countries recently announced that they will open their land border in a bid to facilitate the movement of goods and people. There is also talk of increasing bilateral relations between the two nations.

South Sudan was once part of Sudan and after a bitter civil war, South Sudan gained independence and recognition from the international community. Ever since, both these countries have been at loggerheads, seeing that South Sudan took much of the oil resources.

But despite this, both countries have endured periods of political turmoil including coups in Sudan and civil war in the South. But it seems recent efforts to normalize relations are indeed working out.

KQ Flights a GameChanger

KQ did not indicate how much money it will charge for the flights. But it is clear that the new route has some demand. As such, it could be a game-changer for air travel and trade between Sudan and South Sudan.

The Kenyan carrier has made it clear that it will remain steadfast in its efforts to facilitate the flow of goods and people across Africa. This includes the development of tourism. Launching this flight is a clear indication that indeed the Kenyan National Carrier is leaving nothing to chance.

Struggling Kenya Airways

Despite the newfound resolve to launch into new routes, things have not been that rosy for KQ. The airline has suffered heavily due to the COVID 19 crisis with the limited air travel and COVID restrictions. But even before COVID, KQ was still going through financial turmoil.

With a huge debt burden, increasing operational costs, and lack of government subsidies. The carrier has been returning losses running into billions of Shillings over the last few years. But as the COVID 19 pandemic subsides and restrictions ease, it is clear that there is a chance for a change in fortunes.

Launch into New African Routes

This is not the first time KQ is launching flights into brand new routes. The national carrier has been doing this for a while. There is of course a lot of potential in Africa’s air market. But due to underdeveloped infrastructure, not many airlines have managed to get there. But so far KQ is trying its best.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons 

About Nyambura Tabitha

Tabitha Nyambura is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with years of experience in digital publishing. Her focus is on politics and the economy. She has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years and continues to bring interesting stories that matter to readers all across East Africa.