Thursday, August 23, 2012

► SOUTH SUDAN: Government looks for partners in new national airline as China helps build new terminal at Juba International.

South SudanReuters Newswire is reporting that the South Sudanese Government is looking for an "international company" to enter into a potential private/public joint venture for the running of a new South Sudanese national carrier. The government plans to retain a minority 20% stake in the airline, and will sell 31% to the domestic South Sudanese private sector with the remaining  49% being sold to international investors.

"We're going to develop a public-private partnership in order to establish a South Sudan airline ... It will be run commercially by an international, reputable company," Deputy Minister of Transport Mayom Kuoc Malek said in an interview. "This project is a priority because as a landlocked country we need to reach the outside world, and the best way to reach the outside world is to have an aviation industry which is efficient," he said.
Since its cessation from the North (referred to as 'Sudan') last year in July, Africa's newest nation has been without a dedicated national  air service, notwithstanding the numerous private operators who ply various routes to landing strips & aerodromes that dot the country. Herein lies a greater problem: that of inadequate infrastructure.

Juba International Airport, South Sudan - Incomplete Construction Work 2012
Juba Airport in May 2012 (UR-SDV)
The first steps towards improving South Sudan's basic aviation infrastructure were taken last week when China announced it would provide a USD158million loan to help complete construction work that started at Juba International Airport in April of 2011.

Built in the 1940s, Juba International Airport originally planned to have its upgrade completed by Independence Day of last year; a tall order consisting of: the expansion of the passenger and cargo terminal buildings, resurfacing of the runway and installation of landing lights to facilitate night operations. Additionally, there were to be have been upgrades to five state airstrips in Yambio, Torit, Kwajok, Bor and  Awiel, implemented by the World Food Programme.
However after various delays, South Sudan's Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin declared that the renovation and improvement works were back on following the successful negotiation of the loan with China, which would see South Sudan repaying it over 20 years at 2% interest.
"It will include extensions, it will include the car parks, it will include the lighting system. It will include the ability for the airport to be functioning for 24 hours," he said .

Source [Airwise]

Juba International Airport Upgrades, South Sudan

Juba International Airport Upgrades, South Sudan
Models of Juba International Airport's Upgrades (ArchitectureWorkshop)
As is often the case in Chinese underwritten loans, Chinese contractors must necessarily be employed.