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JUBA - 23 Sep 2019

South Sudan says not ready to take over airspace from Sudan

South Sudan government said it was not ready to take over the management of airspace from Sudan because of untrained staff and the investment needed to do so.

In 2016, South Sudan signed a three-year deal with Sudan to manage and control its airspace. The agreement says South Sudan will take full control of its airspace after training to operate the system.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, South Sudan’s Information Minister, Michael Makuei said Sudan has not trained South Sudan staff on equipment and air traffic control. He disclosed that the agreement signed with Sudan is ending on September 30.

Makuei, who is also the government spokesman, pointed out that it was decided that the Sudanese government should continue to manage South Sudan airspace.

“The delegation has been directed to allow the Sudan government to continue to manage our airspace. Meanwhile, we continue to prepare our staff and the equipment so that we can take it over at any time when we are ready,” he said.

“The agreement is flexible and it gives both parties the right to terminate the agreement at any time…the minister of transports was given the green light to negotiate all these,” he added.

In April, South Sudan closed its air space temporarily following political unrest in neighboring Sudan that led to the ouster of long-time leader Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. South Sudanese authorities said that the restriction came after Sudan closed its airspace as precautionary measures.