Sudan: Airways Problems "Unsolvable", Says Former Official

Khartoum — The Sudanese cabinet forum on addressing problems of the national carrier Sudan Airways has made several recommendations including an integral five-year plan to be implemented starting this year.

The forum discussed obstacles facing the company and ways for developing a framework to rebuild it.

The state's minister at the Ministry of Transport, Roads, and Bridges, Oshek Mohamed Tahir, disclosed the issuance of a presidential decree to form a committee for developing Sudan Airways.

Sudan Airways' former board of directors chairman, al-Sharif Ahmed Omer Badr, said the government subsidy which amounted to $20 million has not solved the company's problems, advising the government not to provide additional funds.

"Qaroon's [proud owner of a fortune so vast and plentiful. He was mentioned in the Qur'an ] money wouldn't solve Sudan Airways problems", he added

He pointed that Sudan Airways building in London was mortgaged until repaying the company's debts, saying Sudan Airways owes $750.000 to several newspapers.

The director of Sudan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Ahmed Sati Bajouri, stressed the government has liberated air space and wouldn't subsidize Sudan airways just because it is the national carrier.

He called upon Sudan Airways' managementto stop "crying on the ruins" and engage in a joint investment with the government.

Several experts who participated in the forum demanded that Sudan Airways reform be under the direct supervision of the first Vice President, Bakri Hassan Salih.

Sudan Airways, which was founded in the 1940s, is one of the oldest African airlines. It has been worn down by years of U.S. sanctions, financial troubles and mismanagement.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labeled as genocide

The government has long been trying to overhaul the carrier with the help of outside investors.

But Kuwaiti investment firm Aref Investment Group, which took 49% stake when the government privatized %70 of the airline in 2007, has since withdrawn, selling its holding back to the government.

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