(eTN) – South Sudan’s latest privately-owned airline, Southern Star, took delivery last week of their first aircraft, a Dash 8 supplied by ALS of Nairobi Kenya on a long-term contract.
The new airline is reportedly planning to start operations with domestic flights across the vast Southern Sudanese territory, connecting Juba with such towns like Malakal, Rumbek, and others. Air transport is seen as a fast and safe mode of travel within the South Sudan, where a nationwide cross country network of highways and roads is only now beginning to be constructed.
According to a source from Nairobi, Southern Star is due to receive additional leased aircraft from ALS in due course to expand their network into the wider region. The new Republic of Southern Sudan is expected to commence negotiating bilateral air services agreements, in short BASA’s, with first neighboring countries, which when coming into effect will regulate the number of frequencies and spell out the number of designated airlines from both BASA partners allowed to fly on the route. Presently air traffic in and out of Juba is dominted by foreign airlines, but sooner or later the principle of reciprocity will come into play, giving airlines registered in South Sudan a stronger position when it comes to claiming their share of the traffic.
The ownership of Southern Star could not be immediately established nor could suggestions that ALS was a partner in the venture.