Kenyan airlines rake in big bucks in southern Sudan

Kenyan airlines are reaping huge benefits from the opening up of southern Sudan, following the return of peace in the region. There has been an increase of both cargo and passenger flights to southern Sudan. Previously, there was only one airline operator, but now there are more than five regular flights to the region.

The airlines operating in Sudan include Jetlink Express, Delta connections, African airliners, 748 Air Services, Astral Aviation, Flight Path Aviation, ALS Ltd and Marsland. Besides, a number of other Kenyan businesses venturing into southern Sudan led by commercial banks and construction companies, the Kenyan Business Daily has reported.

Safari Express flies to southern Sudan on charter basis only and Kenya Airways has scheduled flights directly to Khartoum. There are also Sudanese airlines that have been making regular flights into Kenya.

Jetlink Express makes six flights a week to Sudan, from Monday to Saturday. Investors and humanitarian workers have contributed to the growth of the airline business in the area.

The biggest difficulty affecting the route is the high taxes Sudan charges, which eat into the gains made. They are almost double what Kenya charges. Besides, processing of customs documents takes long. Also, since southern and northern Sudan continue to operate as different states, airlines it difficult to drop part of their cargo in Juba and the remaining in Khartoum.

The Sudanese ambassador in Nairobi has urged more Kenyan businesses to move into the region and develop services that are needed.