VENTURES AFRICA – Jetlink Express cancels all its flights with effect from Friday, as the carrier proves to have insufficient cash for operations to continue due to inaccessible South Sudanese funds.
The low-cost airline announced the suspension of flights on Thursday, and blamed a shortage of foreign exchange in South Sudan as the reason necessitating the stoppage, claiming that over $ 2 million in Sudanese ticket sales are inaccessible due to the lack of currencies.
“The board of directors of Jetlink Express regrets to announce the immediate suspension of all scheduled flights with effect from November 16, 2012,” the statement read, going on to explain: “This has been necessitated by our inability to access over USD2 million of our air ticket sales in South Sudan. Nearly all of our ticket sales in South Sudan are transacted in local South Sudanese pounds.”
The airline further revealed that the decision to suspend flights may not have been unexpected, given the on-going nature of the foreign exchange problem, saying: “Despite the worsening scarcity of foreign currency in South Sudan since January 2012, Jetlink has persevered in servicing Nairobi-Juba route based on the support we have received from the Government of South Sudan and from our bankers here in Kenya.”
With such a significant portion of funds tied up in South Sudan, the carrier has found itself struggling with an increasing backlog of costs, and has finally reached a point where it is unable to finance necessary payments such as fuel costs and aircraft lease payments.
Thus far, it has been able to pull through with the help of good-will on the part of Kenyan banking staff, the company disclosed, however, this line of finance will no longer be made available, Jetlink revealed, saying: “Unfortunately our Kenya bankers have recently advised us that they will no longer be able to grant us any further accommodation against our increasing deposited sales…. This has left us in a situation where we are unable to meet short term obligations as they fall due.”
Passengers will have to find new means of travel following the announcement, with Jetlink adding: “We take this opportunity to apologise to all our esteemed customers and partners across the region for the inconveniences caused to them by this suspension of our services.”