JUBA — South Sudan has taken ownership of its sovereign lower airspace from Sudan, the country’s Minister of Transport Madut Biar Yil said on Saturday.
Speaking during the launch of the South Sudan Pilots’ Association in Juba on Saturday, Biar said the country has finally taken control of its lower airspace and is establishing infrastructure aimed at reclaiming its upper airspace.
“We are now controlling our lower airspace, we are now independent of Sudan and we are building now and the company is now working necessary infrastructure to control our upper airspace so that we become now an independent country not only by land but also by air,” Biar said during the launch of the South Sudan Pilots’ Association in Juba over the weekend.
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.
According to the agreement, South Sudan would take over the control of its airspace territory after training and acquiring a qualified workforce to oversee the system.
In September, the Sudanese committee managing the airspace was directed by the cabinet to continue its job until South Sudan is ready to assume the role.
Biar said Sudan failed to train Civil Aviation Staff who should take control of their airspace after three years.
“Sudan was given the management of our airspace collecting fees from our airspace in the tune of millions of dollars per month and they couldn’t meet their obligations to train our Civil Aviation Staff until the coronavirus came in and it becomes an excuse,” he said.
South Sudan will be able to collect fees from all aircraft using the airspace; a source of revenue that could bring in tens of millions of dollars each year once the full upper airspace is reclaimed.