CANCELLED: Aviation authority reverses order on domestic flights at JIA

CANCELLED: Aviation authority reverses order on domestic flights at JIA
Planes at Juba International Airport.

South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority has reversed the order on domestic flights at the Juba International Airport during Pope Francis’ visit three-day visit to Juba.

The order that was issued by JIA General-Manager, Saleh Akot Anywan, would have grounded local flights between February 2-5, the time that Pope Francis will be in the country.

While reversing the order, Kur Koul Kur, JIA director said that the decision was reached after weighing the pro and cons it would have had on the local economy.

Juba International Airport departure launge.

He added that the airport will receive planes from the states, adding that domestic flights will use only the western gate.

“It is going to affect the public maybe. If there [for example somebody [may] need to be rushed to Juba for treatment, then it will be very difficult,” Kur told City Review in an exclusive interview.

“We will use the western gate. They will take all passengers coming from the States through the western gate until the visit of the Pope is finished,” he added.

The VIP terminal will function normally but will only receive international and regional flights.

“No one will pass through the main VIP area. Whoever doesn’t want to use the Western Gate, that’s is up to you!”

Pope Francis is expected in the country from February 2, alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

The Pope and his entourage, which include over 120 journalists, will arrive in the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo from where he will make his first visit to Africa, this year.

Juba is expected to register an influx of visitors, both from without and across the border during the Pope’s visit. Closing the airport, especially to domestic flights would have inconvenienced tends of citizens who are expected to start arriving in the capital next week.

The three-day pilgrimage, a first for the pontiff in South Sudan, will include a public mass at Dr John Garang Mausoleum, a meeting with politicians and religious leaders and internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).