Gov't bans Antonov planes from South Sudan

November 11, 2021

The South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the weekend stopped all Antonov planes from operating in the country citing a lack of proper maintenance and registration documents.

A letter from Captain Subek David Dada, the Chief Executive Officer of the South Sudan CAA to the entity’s director-general of safety and flight operations seen by Radio Tamazuj directed on the suspension, revocation of Air Operator Permits (AOPs) and ordered some aircraft to leave South Sudan.

“During the deliberation and findings, the Safety Oversight Committee in their second final came out with the following recommendations; the immediate revocation of AOP of South Sudan of AN-26, AN-24, and AN-30, Hawkers HS748 and Let-410 UVP, with exception to the UN operated Antonovs,” the letter read in part.

The letter also directed that the affected aircraft leave South Sudan to their countries of registration within one week as from the submission of the second report. The Antonov airplane models banned from South Sudan's skies mostly belong to commercial operators.

The letter said about the Air Force-operated Antonovs, “Two AN-26 operated and owned by the South Sudan Air Force flying with foreign civil registration are strongly advised to change to the military registration otherwise if they continue operating with civil registration, they will be banned from operation by CAA.”

The director-general of Juba International Airport (JIA), Kur Kuol, confirmed the ban to Radio Tamazuj and said only the Antonov aircraft belonging to the army is exempted.

'These Antonovs are all grounded except the Antonov 26 of the army, though the army has been conditioned to change the civil registration of the aircraft to the registration of the army otherwise they will not even fly with the civil registration because if there is an accident, it will be found to be civil,' Kuol said.

He revealed that most of the companies operating Antonov aircraft in South Sudan maintain them locally in the country instead of taking them to their countries of origin for maintenance like the United Nations Antonov 26 which does good maintenance and has proper documentation for their planes.

'Since these planes came here, they do not go for maintenance, they make a local maintenance here and that is why most of the planes are falling here,” Kuol said. “So these planes have not been chased away totally but they have been told to go back to their countries of origin to obtain proper documents then they can come back.”

The government says it has asked all the Antonovs operators to go back to their countries of origin to get proper registration and insurance documents.

On 2 November, an Antonov 26 plane operated by Optimum Aviation crashed in the Gondokoro area adjacent to Juba International Airport killing five crew members after takeoff.


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