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In a letter dated January 20, 2020, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) identified new safety risks in the airspace under the authority of the Republic of South Sudan.
“I draw your attention to the possible existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights operating within the Khartoum Flight Information Region (FIR) over the territory of South Sudan, below flight level (FL) 245, and arriving at or departing from Juba International Airport (HSSJ),” said Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Authority.
The UN agency pointed to the lack of suitably qualified air traffic control personnel in South Sudan and disruption of air traffic services.
“Information received by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from a variety of sources indicates that there has been a disruption to air traffic services and related supporting services within the above-mentioned airspace without the benefit of adequate contingency arrangements being in place.”
“Your attention is specifically drawn to the lack of suitably qualified air traffic control personnel, the non-promulgation of aeronautical information concerning out of service or withdrawn navigation equipment and the necessary mitigation arrangements, coordination irregularities with adjacent area control centres, and inadequate air-ground communications.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization urges international aircraft operators not to turn a deaf ear to these warnings for the sake of their safety and that of their loyal customers.
“ICAO, therefore, holds grave concerns for the overall safety of international air traffic and, consequently, you are strongly urged to use this and any other pertinent information to assess flight safety risk in the airspace under the authority of South Sudan.”
“Please be assured that the primary objective of ICAO remains the safety and security of international civil aviation. ICAO continues to actively coordinate with the authorities concerned on matters, which could impact flight safety, and will notify you of any significant developments.”