Sudan announces to extend airspace closure

Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority on Saturday extended the closure of Sudanese airspace until May 23 amid continued armed conflict between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“The Civil Aviation Authority has decided to extend the closure of Sudanese airspace until May 23, excluding humanitarian aid and foreign nationals’ evacuation,” the authority said in a notice to airmen (NOTAM) on Saturday.

Since the outbreak of the clashes on April 15, the country’s airspace has been closed as air navigation systems at Khartoum International Airport have been affected by the clashes between the two warring sides in the vicinity of the airport, according to the authority.

Video clips on social media showed the damage to the Khartoum International Airport due to the fighting between the warring sides. Rubble scattered throughout the airport, where the destruction included parts of the airport corridors, halls, devices and equipment.

As Khartoum airport has been out of service since the first day of armed clashes, evacuation planes of diplomats and foreign nationals used Wadi Seidna airbase in Omdurman city, north of the capital Khartoum. Some other countries used Port Sudan Airport in Sudan’s Red Sea State, some 870 km east of Khartoum.

On Friday, the Sudanese Council of Ministers announced in a statement that airports in Port Sudan and Wadi Seidna, as well as Khartoum International Airport, will serve as entry points for humanitarian aid after maintenance.

The council said the decision to allocate airports was part of efforts to implement the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, which was signed by the Sudanese Army and the RSF in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Thursday.

When the clashes broke out, both sides rushed to seize control of the country’s three main airports, namely Khartoum airport in the capital, Merowe airport in northern Sudan, and El Obeid airport in North Kordofan State in western Sudan.

Khartoum International Airport, which was opened in 1947, locates in the heart of the Sudanese capital, adjacent to the General Command building of the Sudanese Army. It is the main airport of the country, through which an estimated 95 percent of foreign air traffic passes.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly armed clashes between the Sudanese Army and the RSF in Khartoum and other areas since April 15, leaving over 550 people dead. ■

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