15 November 2012

Kenya: Jetlink Grounds All Flights Over Juba Forex Hitch

Nairobi — Jetlink Express has suspended all its flights with effect from Friday, November 16 citing shortage of foreign exchange in South Sudan.

This means that all the passengers who had planned to travel using Jetlink will now have to look for other options after the sudden announcement.

In a statement on Thursday, Jetlink said it has been unable to access over $2 million (Sh171 million) in air tickets in Juba, South Sudan.

The airline says this has happened because nearly all of its ticket sales in Sudan are transacted in Sudanese Pounds.

"The board of directors of Jetlink Limited regrets to announce the immediate suspension of all scheduled flights with effect from 16th November 2012," the airline's Managing Director and CEO Elly Aluvale said in the statement.

He said the company had been in a tight situation in serving the Nairobi-Juba route since January this year due to scarcity of foreign currency in South Sudan.

He added that the airline has survived on the credit support it has been receiving from the government of South Sudan and their bankers.

"We have largely operated on good will of our bankers who have allowed us access to credit facilities here in Kenya against our deposited sales in South Sudanese pounds held in our accounts in Juba," he said.

The airline said it had come to the conclusion of suspending its operations since it could not be able to meet its short term financial obligations particularly purchasing fuel which constitutes 40 percent of all its costs.

"We take this opportunity to apologise to all our esteemed customers and partners across the region for the inconveniences caused to them by this suspension of our services," he said.

The airline says it had already approached the governments of Kenya and South Sudan in finding a quick solution.

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