Sudan Airways resumes operations, promises to stick to aviation norms

Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 7:40 by Aviation Correspondent

Sudan Airways, the national carrier of Sudan, resumed operations a few hours after the airline’s fleet was grounded for having violated civil aviation requirements. An official of Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority said that the fleet of Sudan Airways had been ordered to be grounded, starting June 23, 2008, “for an undefined period” after an internal audit found that the national carrier breached administrative and technical standards. The proposed grounding was to be applicable to both domestic and international flights.

However, Sudan Airways, which later appealed against the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision, was allowed to resume its flights after the carrier promised that it would correct its mistakes.

A statement from Sudan Airways said that, as a part of the remedial measures, it was appointing an independent expert to monitor services, asking the director-general and chief of operations to be full-time staff and revising the frequency of its flights to accommodate its fleet size and age of its planes.

Earlier, in June 2008, 30 people had died when a Sudan Airways Airbus A310 with 214 passengers on board caught fire after landing and veering off the runway at Khartoum International Airport.

The air disaster in June 2008 was the latest in a long string of fatal air crashes and other accidents that took place in Sudan. In May 2008, the defence minister of south Sudan was killed in a plane crash along with over 20 other people, most of them senior members of the former rebel leadership from the south.

The Civil Aviation Authority official said the decision to ground the Sudan Airways fleet was not related the accident in June 2008 but to the company’s “general performance, which is below the standards of civil aviation.”

Sudan Airways, which is 60 years old, said in the statement that it would “continue its efforts and strategies to upgrade” its services and alleged that “the company has been subjected to a media campaign.”

Sudan Airways operates a fleet of old aircraft. According to the Sudanese government, the national carrier has not been able to buy spare parts for its aircraft made in the United States owing to the economic sanctions imposed by the US on Sudan.

Sudan is on the United States’ list of countries supporting terrorism.

Sudan Airways was privatised in 2007, with a Kuwaiti company owning a 49% stake in it and the Sudanese government and private Sudanese owning the rest.

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