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Jetlink suspends operations over forex scarcity in S. Sudan

Jetlink Airline plane CRJ-type (Canadian Regional Jet) prepares to take off from Kisumu Airport. Photo/FILE
Jetlink Airline plane CRJ-type (Canadian Regional Jet) prepares to take off from Kisumu Airport. Photo/FILE 

Jetlink Express has suspended all scheduled flights starting Friday due to its inability to access funds in Southern Sudan, affecting its operations.

In a statement, the airline says the inability to access over Sh170 million ($2 million) due to the scarcity of foreign currency in South Sudan since January 2012 has seen the airline unable to meet its short term obligations, especially fuel, leading to the airline suspending its operations.

“The Board of Directors of Jetlink Express regrets to announce the immediate suspension of all its scheduled flights with effective from November 16, 2012,” said the airline’s managing director Captain Elly Alluvale, in a statement released this evening.

Jetlink was the first airline to start flights between Nairobi and Juba, with the route being one of its most profitable. However with most sales being in South Sudan Pounds (SSP), the airline has been unable to repatriate the funds back to Kenya to support its operations.

With the banks unable to guarantee any further credit against the airlines deposits in South Sudan due to currency and cross-border risk consideration, the airline was left with no money to support its operations.

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Other players on the route are Kenya Airways and Fly 540, who have continued to operate on the route.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct a wrong conversion in currency value to Kenya shillings

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