By Philip Buda Ladu
Juba and Istanbul will soon enhance business and socioeconomic ties as Turkey began direct flights to South Sudan.
The Turkish Airlines and official flag’ carrier of the Republic of Turkey has inaugurated its commercial flight as it touched Juba International Airport on Wednesday 1st June, 2022.
South Sudan became number one hundred and twenty-nine (129) country in the world and number 62 network destination in African continent for Turkish Airline flights.
Moreover, the airline flies in many countries than any other airline in the world.
Bilal Eksi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Turkish airline said the commencement of the Juba-Istanbul direct flights will enhance the business and socioeconomic ties between Turkey and South Sudan.
The CEO said since the declaration of Independence its in 2011; South Sudan has been a very good friend of Turkey, saying he was happy to see their relations grow stronger each year.
“Our flights to Juba the Capital and the largest city of South Sudan will help Turkish and South Sudanese trade, business and cultural ties. Nationals of this beautiful Country will have the excellent connectivity at their convenience to Europe, and Americas with Turkish Airlines,” Bilal said.
Beginning this June 1st 2022, Juba-Istanbul direct flights will operate three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, using the Boeing 737 900 Max aircrafts.
Captain Subek John David the Chief Executive Officer of South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority acknowledged that the commencement of the Turkish Airline operations in Juba was made possible due to improved peace and security.
He said South Sudan is a landlocked country and almost 80 percent of their operations being government, humanitarian services, deliveries of medical equipment and both within and outside the country depend on air travel making air carriage key means of transport.
The South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (SSCAA), ECO said the coming of Turkish airline has opened doors for South Sudanese.
“We as Civil Aviation Authority, our main target and concern is to have a free and peaceful movement whereby people can travel freely without any fear and hindrance especially in expediting the clearance of people in the airport, delays are not allowed because in travel there are many things connected together. So if you make delay here in Juba this will affect also for example Turkish airline who might want to connect their passengers to other destinations nearing them or other places,” Captain Subek said.
Mr. Subek emphasized on cooperation especially in the immigration, customs and those bodies in the airport which are concerned with the movement of people.
He called on the concern officials at the airport to cooperate and work together to make sure that movements are eased to go faster and avoid delays.
Meanwhile, Turkish Ambassador to South Sudan, Erdem Mutaf described the inauguration of first Juba-Istanbul flight as a historical.
He stated that the first direct flight that landed at Juba International Airport on Wednesday morning came as a result of long efforts from both Turkish and South Sudan governments.
“This flight will be very instrumental in enhancing the interactions between the Turkish and south Sudanese nations, it will open new avenues for bilateral cooperation between our countries and also create new opportunities for investors from both countries to other countries. It will also be an important development where Turkish cargo will be conducting their operations to Juba which will be vital for the logistical needs of South Sudan,” Ambassador Mutaf noted.
At the same time, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the Vice President for Infrastructure Cluster commended the commencement of Juba-Istanbul’s direct flight.
The VP said the day wasn’t simple for government and the people of South Sudan, but a historical great day because the introduction of the direct Turkish airline flights to Juba will help in very many ways.
“This introduction of the Turkish Airline to South Sudan aviation industry will not only connect the our sisterly countries but will ease transportation of goods and services from the Middle East, Europe to East Africa and West Africa,” underlined Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the V.P for Infrastructure Cluster.
He said there are a lot of foreigners; UN employees, and businessmen from the neighboiring Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) who might want to connect to Europe and to the Middle East via Juba which is the shortest route adding that Turkish Airline business will not only be Juba but the neighboring countries as well.
Gen. Taban expressed optimism that their connection by one of the best airlines in the world that’s Turkish airline will definitely strengthen trade and tourism between them and cement their close ties.
The inaugural direct flight of Turkish Airline operations from Istanbul to Juba was graced by the Vice President for Economic Cluster Dr. James Wani Igga and attended by other top government dignitaries, national ministers, the governor of Central Equatoria State, the Mayor of Juba City council including Turkish Ambassador to South Sudan.