The Ministry of Transport says the deal with Sudan over the control of the airspace will end by September, but South Sudan is not yet ready to manage its own airspace.
In 2016, the government of South Sudan signed a three year agreement with Sudan under the International Civil Aviation Organization to manage and control its airspace.
The agreement is due to end four months from now.
But the Minister of Finance said they are yet to secure the 200 million U.S dollars needed to equip the aviation authority with facilities needed to manage South Sudan airspace.
South Sudan is required to inform Sudan six month in advance whether it intends on maintaining the airspace under Sudan or discontinue the agreement. It is already 5 months to the deadline.
John Luk Jok said the remaining period may not be enough for South Sudan to reclaim the rights to manage its aviation system, and build the capacity of the personnel.
“But if we were quick to do our work here and finalize this, then September would find us that we are ready, we are equipped to control our airspace,” he said.
The Minister revealed that the Ministry of Finance has completed negotiations for a loan with the Chinese Exim bank to offer part of the money needed to equip South Sudan Civil Aviation with airspace management system.
John Luk said Juba has not been generating revenue from the usage of the airspace by foreign airlines because the money is collected by Sudan.
“The airspace is really an easy thing to pay for itself, because it the money that we collect from all the international flights over our airspace that generates the revenue, but they have been collecting that money on our behalf because of the control of our airspace.”
Last month, it was reported that Sudan shut down its airspace, including that of South Sudan over the ouster of President Omar al Bashir. All the airlines were forced to cancel flights during closure.
This happened at the time when President Salva Kiir and senior government officials were at the Vatican in Rome for a retreat with Pope Francis.
Sudan later reopened the airspace for overflights on the 12th April.
John Luk said this arrangement has a negative impact on the sovereignty of a country.
“As a sovereign state, your airspace can not be closed by a neighboring country but it is because we have not build the capacity needed,” he concluded.
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