Sudan Table of Contents
In mid-1991 scheduled domestic air service was provided by Sudan Airways, a government-owned enterprise operated by the Sudan Airways Company. The company began its operations in 1947 as a government department. It has operated commercially since the late 1960s, holding in effect a monopoly on domestic service. In 1991 Sudan Airways had scheduled flights from Khartoum to twenty other domestic airports, although it did not always adhere to its schedules. It also provided international services to several European countries, including Britain, Germany, Greece, and Italy. Regional flights were made to North Africa and the Middle East as well as to Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. The Sudan Airways fleet in 1991 consisted of thirteen aircraft, including five Boeing 707s used on international flights, two Boeing 737s and two Boeing 727s employed in domestic and regional services, and four Fokker F-27s used for domestic flights.
Sixteen international airlines provided regular flights to Khartoum. The number of domestic and international passengers increased from about 478,000 in 1982 to about 485,000 in 1984. Air freight increased from 6 million tons per kilometer in 1982 to 7.7 million tons per kilometer in 1984. As compared with the previous year, in 1989 passenger traffic on Sudan Airways fell by 32 percent to 363,181 people, reducing the load factor to 34.9 percent. By contrast, freight volume increased by 63.7 percent to 12,317 tons. At the end of 1979, Sudan Airways had entered into a pooling agreement with Britain's Tradewind Airways to furnish charter cargo service between that country and Khartoum under a subsidiary company, Sudan Air Cargo. A new cargo terminal was built at Khartoum.
Sudan Airways's operations have generally shown losses, and in the early 1980s the corporation was reportedly receiving an annual government subsidy of about £Sd500,000. In 1987 the government proposed to privatize Sudan Airways, precipitating a heated controversy that ultimately led to a joint venture between the government and private interests. Like the railroads and river transport operators, however, Sudan Airways suffered from a shortage of skilled personnel, overstaffing, and lacked hard currency and credit for spare parts and proper maintenance.
In the early 1980s, the country's civilian airports, with the exception of Khartoum International Airport and the airport at Juba, sometimes closed during rainy periods because of runway conditions. After the 1986 drought, which caused major problems at regional airports, the government launched a program to improve runways, to be funded locally. Aeronautical communications and navigational aids were minimal and at some airports relatively primitive. Only Khartoum International Airport was equipped with modern operational facilities, but by the early 1990s, Khartoum and seven other airports had paved runways. In the mid-1970s, IDA and the Saudi Development Fund agreed to make funds available for construction of new airports at Port Sudan and Waw, reconstruction and improvement of the airport at Malakal, and substantial upgrading of the Juba airport; these four airports accounted for almost half of domestic traffic. Because the civil war resumed, improvements were made only at Port Sudan. Juba airport runways were rebuilt by a loan from the European Development Fund, but the control tower and navigational equipment remained incomplete.
Data as of June 1991