National airline, Kenya Airways on Saturday, April 15 cancelled all flights into and out of Khartoum in Sudan, effective immediately.
In a statement, KQ attributed the cancellation to the ongoing unrest in the Sudanese capital city and despite suspending all flights between April 15 and April 16, it noted that it would continue to monitor the situation and issue further updates.
“Due to the ongoing unrest in Khartoum, Sudan, we have cancelled all flights into and out of Khartoum effective 15th April 2023. This is still a developing situation, we continue to monitor and will share updates as soon as we have more information. Affected customers are advised to get in touch with our Customer Excellence Center via +254 711 024 747, Whatsapp: +254 705 474 747 or Email: email@example.com,” the statement by KQ’s Chief Commercial and Customer Officer, Julius Thairu, read in part.
The notice came merely hours after President William Ruto expressed great concern about the developing crisis in Sudan after the country erupted in an apparent attempted coup on Saturday, calling on all parties involved in the military violence to address differences through peaceful means.
“Kenya is concerned about the developing crisis in Sudan. I implore all parties to address any differences through peaceful means for the sake of the security of the people of Sudan and stability in the country and the region, especially during this Holy month of Ramadan.
“The outbreak of violence will only reverse the gains Sudan has made to the detriment of its lasting peace and prosperity. Kenya and the IGAD States are available and ready to contribute to the resolution of this crisis,” the Head of State wrote in part.
Sudan’s Army General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan is reported to have told Al Jazeera that RSF had attacked his residence in the morning, igniting the violence. The RSF claimed full control of the presidential palace even as the army claimed control of all airports.
Military aircraft were seen in the skies above Khartoum on Saturday afternoon, with gunfire heard in several parts of the city as the country’s army fought the paramilitary RSF.
Several people were injured in the violence with three civilians reported dead. Activities around Khartoum International Airport were halted with aircraft set ablaze.
Sources at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) indicated that several flights to Kenya from Europe had also been turned back due to safety concerns about Sudan’s airspace. Pilots headed to and from Europe and the Middle East were advised to seek alternative routes.
One of the passenger planes which was en route to Nairobi was redirected on Saturday following the unrest after it landed at an airport in Sudan where it was supposed to take off to Nairobi afterwards. Following reports of the unrest, the plane was diverted to Athens, Greece.
State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines stated that one of its Airbus A330 jets had an accident at Khartoum before its scheduled departure for Riyadh.