Astral Aviation temporarily suspends Nairobi-South Sudan freighter services
July 14, 2016: Astral Aviation, Kenya based cargo airline, suspended its thrice weekly cargo flights from Nairobi to South Sudan, due to the conflict in South Sudan.
Sanjeev Gadhia, chief executive officer, Astral Aviation, said they cancelled their freighter operation on July 10 after the airport in Juba was closed, but have resumed flights on a chartered Fokker 100 on an evacuation mission, landing in Nairobi with 96 passengers onboard.
Gadhia noted that the war in South Sudan and the subsequent closure of the airport had created a backlog of 100 tonnes of cargo. The firm normally ferries 50 tonnes of cargo in a week.
Astral Aviation will operate charters for passenger evacuations from Juba to Nairobi on a daily basis and will resume its cargo flights on July 15, 2016.
In December 2013 and January 2014, Astral Aviation evacuated in excess of a 1000 passengers who were stranded in Juba following the attempted coup.
Similar flights have been performed in Bangui and Bujumbura to evacuate expatriates and diplomatic personnel to Nairobi.