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African Aviation

Skyjet halts operations

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa  Apr 03, 2009

In a sudden development confirmed only this morning did Skyjet halt their flights from Entebbe to Juba.

Although loads regularly achieved double-digit passenger figures plus generous quantities of loose cargo adding to the revenue, it seems that this was not enough for the shareholders who subsequently began to squabble amongst themselves.

The majority shareholder, a business man from Juba / Southern Sudan reportedly had a major fallout with at least one other minority shareholder, leading last week already to a pronounced flight cancellation over unpaid fuel bills. That flight however eventually left two hours late after the issue was resolved but since then matters appear to have gone from bad to worse.

Efforts to get the key people on phone to comment on the situation were thwarted when phones went either unanswered or were switched off.

Commercial Director Emmanuel Okware understandably referred this correspondent to the CEO and / or Chairman of the Board, being unable to authoritatively comment himself on these developments, but again efforts to have calls answered were in vain.

The Skyjet Boeing 737-200 is now parked at the old airport side in Entebbe well away from the main terminal. This development leaves the field once again to Air Uganda as the sole jet operator between Entebbe and Juba at least until such time that the Skyjet shareholder disputes and power struggles have been resolved one way or another.

The Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority will also have a catalogue of questions for the airline as they granted Skyjet scheduled rights and the airline was required to maintain their flights. One of the criteria of designating an airline for certain routes is amongst others the availability of sufficient operating capital to see a new carrier through the financially challenging start up period and the UCAA will now have to ask themselves too just how diligent they were in the run up to Skyjet's operation.

Skyjet halts operations
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