Gov’t ponders to upgrade Juba International Airport

By William Madouk Garang

The Government is considering refurbishment of Juba International Airport by extending airport terminals to enable adequate space for both domestic and international flights.

Minister of Transport Madut Biar briefed the President on issues impeding the transport sector – and the procedure to bolster government’s control of the country’s airspace.

“The meeting focused on administrative issues related to airport management and the ministry’s plans to build control station in Wau and Malakal as well as install radars in Rajaf, Malakal, Bor and Kapeota,” partly reads the statement.

“The ministry plans to extend airport terminals into domestic terminal and international terminals to create enough space in the airport,” it added.

Minister Biar unveiled his fresh blueprint during his meeting with President Salva Kiir last Friday.

According to him, the new project include; construction of Juba Air Traffic Management System (ATMS) and center, new Air Traffic control tower, operation building.

It’s also consisting of Surveillance system, navigation system, communication system and civil engineering equipment such as meteorological facilities.

Minister Biar who was speaking to the state-owned broadcaster – SSBC, said the meeting also discussed renovating River and Railway transport to ease transportation in the country.

Biar called on the Ministry of Finance to release funding for the completion of the remaining stages.

In April 2021, South Sudan and aviation solution provider – NavPass signed an agreement to claim ownership of its sovereign airspace and collect over flight fees.

The agreement is to pave the way for South Sudan to collect fees from aircraft and increase non-oil revenue.

This is in compliance with the latest International Civil Aviation Organization safety guidelines, government regulations, and best practice.

Losing $3m over-flight fees

Stephen Rombe Tako Lojulo, the Director General-Air Navigation Service at SSCAA, said that despite South Sudan having full control over its lower airspace, the country often misses out on lucrative revenue as a result of not having a grip on the upper airspace.

“Imagine $3 million monthly, and [especially] during this time of COVID-19, that is a very huge amount of money that could have been used to install the country’s airport equipment, but now Khartoum is the one chewing it,” Director Tako lamented.

He said Sudan’s airspace is smaller than South Sudan’s, and this means that most of the planes prefer using South Sudan’s airspace.

“I think it is some of the reasons why Sudan (Khartoum) doesn’t want to relinquish control of the airspace to South Sudan,” he stressed.

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