Kenya‘s national carrier, Kenya Airways, has launched daily flights to Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.
The airline will operate direct flights on a 72-seater Embraer jet daily between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi and Juba International.
“Juba has become one of the important economic hubs [of] Southern Sudan and Africa. Kenya Airways is synonymous with contributing to sustainable development across Africa. We envisage providing a seamless connection service to all passengers travelling in and out of Juba for business and development opportunities,” said Kenya Airways group managing director and chief executive officer, Dr Titus Naikuni, during a ceremony to mark the inaugural flight.
Kenya’s minister for trade, Amos Kimunya, presided over the occasion and lauded the addition of the route to the Kenya Airways network. He noted that this was expected to raise the growth of trade relations between the two regions.
“Aviation transport is a key element in the enhancement of trade and I believe that the introduction of these regular flights will enhance the trading activity between us,” said the minister.
Speaking in Juba at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the inaugural Kenya Airways flight to the capital, Southern Sudan, vice president, Dr Riek Machar, said:
“This marks an important milestone for us, it will help connect our region with the rest of Africa as well as the international network that Kenya Airways serves.”
Kenya Airways has launched a number of new destinations in the recent past, including: Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangui in the Central African Republic, Gaborone in Botswana, Ndola in Zambia, Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, and most recently flights to Muscat in Oman.
Southern Sudan will in early 2011 hold a referendum to determine whether to remain part of a united Sudan or become a separate state.