In the midst of political unrest in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, a number of airlines have suspended or cancelled flights. Airport staff and pilots are allegedly being forced to work at gunpoint, despite the Sudanese Aviation Professionals Alliance (SAPA) calling for ‘civil disobedience’.
Emirates have cancelled flights to and from Khartoum.
Protests in Sudan began in December, as demonstrations took place regarding the soaring price of essentials like bread. They evolved into anti-government rallies demanding the resignation of the then-president Omar al-Bashir, securing support of trade unions, professional associations and, eventually, political parties.
Al-Bashir was removed by the military on April 11th after almost three decades in power. Protesters continue to crowd the streets of Khartoum and are reported by Sky News as saying that “…they won’t [go] until a new government takes office, however long that might take”.
Protesters crowd the streets of the Sudanese capital. Photo: Wikimedia
Reports have come in of protestors being killed by gunfire at sit-ins, and of tens of bodies being pulled from the Nile. The airport at Khartoum saw a number of flights grounded on Monday, as the Sudanese Aviation Professionals Alliance (SAPA) called its members to strike. But now, according to reports, some pilots and airport staff are being forced to work by the military at gunpoint.
As such, a number of airlines have taken the decision to cancel flights to the African nation until the situation calms down.
Emirates Sudan flights suspension
Yesterday, Emirates took the decision to suspend all flights traveling to and from Sudan due to the political unrest. A statement on their website reads,
“The operations of Emirates flights to and from Khartoum until 6 June are suspended due to political unrest in Sudan. In addition, flights operated by our codeshare partner flydubai to and from Khartoum and Port Sudan have been cancelled.
“Until further notice, customers connecting onto Emirates flights to Khartoum and/or Flydubai flights to Khartoum or Port Sudan will not be accepted for travel at origin.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and aim to give customers as much notice as possible if there are any further changes to our operations.”
They recommended affected passengers to contact their local booking agent or Emirates office for help. Although the suspension of Emirates flights is due to be lifted today, with the situation no better in Sudan we expect a further announcement of the extension of this soon.
flydubai cancel sudan flights
Flydubai have followed Emirates’ lead and cancelled flights to Sudan.
Shortly after, announced this morning, Flydubai also cancelled their flights to Sudan. Specifically, they said they had cancelled flights FZ 631/FZ 632 and FZ 633/FZ 634 to Khartoum.
Other airlines who have cancelled flights to Sudan
Turkish Airlines have joined the Dubai based airlines in cancelling flights to Khartoum. Their flights from Istanbul on June 4th at 0030 and 2025 local time, and again on June 5th at 0030 were both cancelled. Subsequently it announced that it will be cancelling its flights scheduled for today, June 6th, also.
Kenya Airways have also suspended flights since Tuesday. They say they are monitoring the situation and will keep passengers updated as more news in received. They took to Twitter to make an announcement:
Following the uncertain situation at Khartoum International Airport, KQ has suspended flights to and from Khartoum including tonight’s flights: KQ 348 Nairobi-Khartoum and KQ 349 Khartoum-Nairobi. We are monitoring the situation and will advise when normal operations resume. pic.twitter.com/P8fPiRUe4P
— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) June 4, 2019
Gulf Air have cancelled all flights to Khartoum until June 8th.
— Gulf Air (@GulfAir) June 6, 2019
EgyptAir were one of the first to cancel flights to Sudan. There’s no word at this stage regarding when they will resume service.