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Juba International Airport forced to halt operations

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Jun 27, 2016

The lack of electricity at South Sudan's Juba International Airport, either caused by diesel running out or else the generators broken down, had severe consequences when operations at the airport ground to a halt.

A regular source from Juba also pointed to the government finances being in complete disarray, with coffers reportedly empty, unable to pay for fuel supplies, or, as was learned a few days earlier, to pay salaries for staff including police and army personnel.

Local radio station Radio Tamazuj earlier today reported that air traffic control too was literally operating blind, while airlines were unable to check in passengers due to lack of power.

It is understood that most flights today have been cancelled and while some aircraft arrived and offloaded passengers and their bags, they were returning to their airports of origin empty, as the lack of power prevented check in, baggage processing, security screening machines from working and even, according to one report, the filing of flight plans.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at the airport, some staying on in hope that fuel can be found and generators come back on line.

No word has come from government sources yet, explaining what the problems really were nor could it be established whether air traffic will resume tomorrow - not likely unless fuel can be found and faulty generators be repaired.

Donors and development partners have been holding back financial support to the government of national unity over a range of concerns and it is unknown when the country's key Western partners will loosen the purse strings and let the money flow resume.

The civil war, though now ended through a political settlement, has cost the country dearly and nearly destroyed the fledgling tourism industry while manufacturing and agro processing too had ground to a near standstill, often caused by a lack of foreign exchange, besides security issues plaguing companies which has invested in South Sudan.

In addition, South Sudan does suffer from the globally low prices for crude oil, which exports once upon a time paid for up to 95 percent of the government expenses. Today though the exports are scaled back significantly and the proceeds are no longer enough to pay but for the most urgent government needs.

Juba International Airport forced to halt operations

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